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Blair Francis Jones, Ph.D.

blair ph.d.

April 14, 1934 ~ March 30, 2014

Blair Francis Jones, Ph.D., age 79, longtime resident of Bethesda, MD died at home in Alexandria, VA on March 30, 2014 after a stroke, surrounded by his family. He was born on April 14, 1934 on the South Side of Chicago, IL to the late Ralph Emerson and Phyllis Wallenburg Jones. Blair was a graduate of Beloit College and received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Blair was an internationally known geochemist who worked at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for more than 50 years and helped fundamentally shape the understanding of aqueous geochemistry. He served as the first Geochemistry Research Advisor for the Water Resource Division's National Research Program. He was awarded the Department of the Interior's Meritorious Service Award in 1981, and the Distinguished Service Award in 1986. A Fellow of the Mineralogical Society, a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a past President of the Clay Minerals Society, Blair served on countless committees in public and society service. Blair's leadership and generous mentorship touched countless people throughout the earth sciences and leaves a lasting legacy. The youngest member elected to the Cosmos Club, Blair resigned over the Club's refusal to admit women. Happily, he was later re-admitted when this policy changed, and met his second wife through the Club. Blair was an active member of the Edgemoor Club, and a supporter of the Battery Park community. He was a tennis player, oenophile, cat lover, jazz aficionado, and Civil War and railroad enthusiast.
Blair was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Foster Jones, who died in 1993. Blair was the husband of Jane, father of Geoffrey (Lisa)and Sheryl, step-father of Susan(Bradley), grandfather of Bryan, brother of Ed, and is also survived by his cat, Graham.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 12th at 2pm at St. John's Episcopal Church, Norwood Parish, 6701 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD, where Blair was a devoted member. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Blair F. Jones' memory to: The Geological Society of America Foundation, PO Box 9140, Boulder, CO 80301 (; Hearts and Homes for Youth, 1320 Fenwick Lane, #800, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (, the Washington Humane Society, 7319 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20012 ( or the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, 16th and Kennedy Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20011 (

Memorial Service

St John's Episcopal Church-Norwood Parish
1600 John Marshall Highway
Front Royal, VA 22630

April 12, 2014
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

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  1. Blair had such a winning personality. It was obvious from the comments today that his colleagues loved him. Joan and I will miss him greatly.

  2. Blair was a humble and gentle man who despite being a genius always had time for his USGS colleagues regardless of their title or age. Even more than being a role model for me when I was a young scientist, he showed me the kind of man I should aspire to be. Farewell, Blair.

  3. We always enjoyed Blair’s company at wine tastings and otherwise. So funny and wise. He will be missed.

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