Barbara E. (Oswalt) Jones, 101
XENIA, Ohio — Barbara E. (Oswalt) Jones, 101, passed away, peacefully, in Xenia, Ohio, on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018.
Barbara was well-known to many in the Ohio/Pa./W.Va. tri-state area in the 1960s and ’70s as Women’s Editor and radio personality at WOHI in East Liverpool.
Barbara was born June 9, 1917, in Alliance, Ohio, to Orla and Louva Oswalt. She moved to East Liverpool after graduating from Wellsville High School.
She married G. Richard Jones, “the love of her life,” and owner of Richards Dry Cleaners in Wellsville in August 1940.
While a homemaker in East Liverpool, she was a charter member of the Junior Women’s Club, and became President in 1959. She founded the Cerebral Palsy Nursery School, the first of its kind in the region, where she taught preschoolers with disabilities. Barbara was also President of the City Federation of PTA and taught Sunday school at the First Church of Christ in East Liverpool.
Barbara joined WOHI as Women’s Editor in 1962. She carved a niche in the hearts of her listeners and served as an early role model for women in radio as morning talk show host of “Bee Line,” where she interviewed local and national guests and chatted on the air with callers. She also spun records as the afternoon disc jockey on WOHI. While working at WOHI, she became interested in community theater. She starred in several productions at Ceramic Playwrights, including “Barefoot in the Park,” and “The Tunnel of Love.” Since she was well-known as a radio personality, local audiences were thrilled to see Barbara perform in person, and reviews from the time commented that she “adeptly handled comedy” and “was especially funny on stage.” Her popularity led her to develop a series of comedy routines which she performed at area organizations, including a frazzled “Phyllis Diller” housewife, a Russian immigrant and a “burlesque” performer.
She retired from WOHI in 1979 to spend more time with her husband Richard, who sold his business after experiencing serious health problems. When she retired from WOHI, East Liverpool honored her as Grand Marshall of the Pottery Festival Parade and the mayor formally declared June 12, 1979, as “Barbara Jones Day.”
She then moved with Richard to Venice Isles, Fla., where they enjoyed their retirement together until his death in 1988, following 48 years of happy marriage. Barbara remained active in Florida, and continued her theatrical pursuits in Venice Isles, where she produced and directed the annual Venice Isle Variety Players Show. She relocated to Xenia, Ohio in 2005, to be closer to her daughter and family and in 2013 moved into Legacy Village in Xenia.
Barbara is survived by two sons, Dr. Bruce Jones (Anne) of Euclid, Ohio, and Dale Jones (Beth) of Glenwood, Md., and daughter, Judith Martin (James) of Xenia, Ohio, along with seven grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Two brothers, Bruce and Robert Oswalt, and her sister, Marilyn Donahue, preceded her in death.
Barbara was a funny, creative, intelligent and thoughtful woman who loved to dress up for all holidays and celebrate life to the fullest. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.
A memorial service is planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Bella Care Hospice at celebratelife-foundation.net. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.tobiasfuneralhome.com.