Family, friends and admirers of a longtime Shelton farmer gathered at the Jones Family Farm for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth and the ribbon cutting for an honorary pavilion.
Philip Hubbell Jones, owner of Jones Family Farm, who passed away in 2015, would have been 100 this year. The family and staff at the farm decided that the best way to honor the late farmer would be via a party with all his loved ones and a handcrafted pavilion that everyone could enjoy.
The pavilion is composed of eastern white pine, white cedar, and solid black walnut, and all of the lumber used, except for the pegs, came from trees that were planted by Jones himself. The pegs were from trees not planted by Jones but that were grown on the farm, according to Tom Harbinson, the facilities and hospitality manager at Jones Family Farm.
Steve Strong, who has a sawmill in eastern Connecticut, created the design and cut the timber before assembling the pavilion with the help of his team.
More than 100 people came out for the celebration. Mayor Mark Lauretti, Gov. Dannel Malloy, and Jones’s son Terry, who is part of the fifth generation of the family to work on the farm, all made brief remarks before the ribbon-cutting ceremony commenced
“Philip Jones epitomized America,” said Lauretti. “He was so many things that America stands for and represents, and he lived his life that way, and served his community to the fullest.”
The 10-sided pavillion was closed off with 10 ribbons to be cut by his great-grandchildren. Two bald eagles were seen flying over the event shortly after the first ribbon was cut.
Terry Jones said he could feel his father’s spirit at the event shortly after an original song was sung and dedicated to Philip. He honored his father by reciting a flurry of puns his father had stored in his desk before he died.
“Let’s enjoy the journey of Philip from trees to pavillion,” said Terry. “And if the party gets boring, just leaf.”
Malloy said he had the pleasure of getting to know Philip Jones in his later years and said the Jones family is amazing.
“The meaning of this structure is that we’re on this Earth a long enough time, and in Philip’s case a very long time, to plant trees, change lives, to make a difference, and to have respect for one’s life work represented by the timber and materials that we celebrate today. He would be embarrassed at all of these shenanigans and demonstrations, but I do think that he’s somewhere looking down proud that he planted those trees so many years ago and that they survived so long and grew so big on this farm.”
Philip Jones served as a state representative and was an active volunteer with many local nonprofit entities, such as the library, Scouts, land trust, and farm organizations.
Terry Jones said the pavilion means everything to the family and is just one way that his father’s legacy will live on.