John Jones was a career officer in the Air Force, retiring with the rank of Major. A native of Atlanta, he was a West Point graduate and veteran jet pilot. Later in his career, he became a range safety officer in the space program. This job required lightning fast reflexes and decision making, as it was his responsibility to destroy missiles in flight that might veer off course. He worked with IBM computers, long before most people even knew what computers were. John’s boss at the range was Harry Cannon, who was a Real Eight member. It was Harry Cannon that introduced John to the rest of the Real Eight group. Since John loved to skin dive he was often asked to help out the rest of the crew when the opportunity arose.
In 1963, John was involved in finding one of the most unique 1715 Fleet treasures ever recovered. John and fellow Real Eight member Lou Ullian were working together when they came upon porcelain bowls and cups stacked horizontally in the mud as though they had been set out for an afternoon tea. In all, a total of 28 bowls and cups, all in perfect condition, were recovered just as they had been packed nearly 250 years before. The porcelain cups and bowls were from the K’ang Hsi period (China, 1662-1722). These undamaged cups and bowls were positively priceless and to this day remain highly sought after by collectors.
In May 1964, John became A Real Eight member. Eventually he went on to become Company President. In addition to being an historic figure in the treasure hunting community, John also at one time ran a country western store in Melbourne called the J Bar L (J stood for John and the L for Lou Ullian who also shared in this adventure).
John died on November 26, 2017. He now joins his other Real Eight comrades. It was his wish to have his ashes scattered at the old Cabin Wreck site near Sebastian, Florida. This was truly a fitting tribute to this most remarkable person. John was survived by his daughter Vicki and his son Reid. An additional testimonial prepared by the family can be found by here: John P. Jones Memorial