Fireline Founder to Be Remembered at 2 Ceremonies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Services are scheduled for Tuesday and Aug. 26 for Roger D. Jones, founder of Fireline Inc.

Jones, who also was instrumental in the founding of Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology, died Wednesday at his home. He was 89.

The youngest of three children, Jones was born March 31, 1928, in Buffalo, N.Y. A Korean War veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star, he had a bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering from Alfred University and came to the Youngstown area to head research and development for Dixon Crucible.

He and his wife, the former Gloria Olson, founded Fireline in 1967. The company manufactures ceramic containers used by companies that manufacture parts for the aerospace industry. The casings can withstand intense heat and alter the chemical properties in the alloy, allowing manufacturers to melt and then forge stronger, more durable parts for their customers.

Fireline has grown from its first customer, Falcon Foundry, to an enterprise that has 107 employees and customers in the United States, Europe and Asia.

In a 2009 Business Journal story, Gloria Jones recalled, “As we were getting older, we thought about selling the company.” Because the entity interested in purchasing Fireline wanted to move the company out of town and break its union, the United Steelworkers of America, the Joneses decided to create an Employee Stock Ownership Plan with employees owning 30%.

After retiring in 2005 as president, Jones returned to his roots in research and development, until 2009.

In 2008, the Joneses provided the initial $50,000 seed money to repurpose the former Children’s Museum of the Valley with interactive exhibits that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and provided $250,000 more the following year for the capital campaign to raise funds to renovate space in the McCrory Building downtown. Last year, the couple donated $1 million to Oh Wow.

A poet, playwright and sculptor, Jones’ works are displayed in more than two dozen collections, including the Butler Institute of American Art and Ohio Living Park Vista. He also served on various boards throughout his life, including Planned Parenthood, as well as on various committees at Youngstown State University.

The Joneses also supported education through endowed scholarships and gifts to individual students at YSU.

He is survived by his wife, whom he married Nov. 2, 1957; a daughter, Rachel Jones Wimer of Sloatsburg, N.Y.; a son, David (Judy) Jones of Canfield; and five grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, Roger was preceded in death by a sister, Betty Williams; and a brother, Paul Jones.

Celebration of Life services will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Chapel of Ohio Living Park Vista, and at 11 a.m. Aug. 26. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown. The family will receive friends following the services.

Memorial contributions can be made to Oh Wow, 11 W. Federal St., Youngstown, OH 44503.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.