Reno Friend Ricki Ann Jones passed away peacefully March 22, 2017, in Reno, Nevada at age 74 after a brief period of illness. She was a member of Reno Friends for five years, during which time she was a regular and joyful presence in worship and helped organize many social gatherings.
Ricki Ann was born into the Jewish faith on April 22, 1943 and named Nancy Saunders. (She would later change her name.) We know little of her early years, except that she lived with her family in Washington, D.C., and later Boston and Minnesota. As a young adult, she served as a VISTA volunteer working in poor communities in the Chicago area. We do not know which Meeting she originally attended in Chicago, but she told us the Meeting sheltered several war resisters during the Vietnam War, and that she and several other Friends were taken to jail for a night for refusing to allow police to enter the Meeting House.
Ricki Ann moved to Berkeley, CA, and in 1994 began attending Berkeley Friends Meeting. She became a member of Berkeley Meeting in 1994, by convincement. Berkeley Friends reported that she was very active in the Meeting for many years and became endeared to many members of the Meeting. She served on the Hospitality Committee of the Meeting, and often brought decorative materials to social events, especially Berkeley’s annual Thanksgiving dinner. She also served as Berkeley’s representative to the American Friends Service Committee for a few years, and even longer on their Peace and Social Order Committee. She served two terms on the Berkeley Friends Nominating committee and one year on the Nursery Committee. She is remembered fondly by Berkeley Friends as a bubbly person who always brightened their gatherings.
One attender of Berkeley Friends, Rich Crowl, shared that he had known her since 1978, when she was still Nancy Saunders. He met her at an Oakland Athletics game that year and ran into her often, as her seat was near his. She told him once that her happiest memories as a child were attending baseball games. She was a serious fan, and loved the Oakland A's. He said Ricki Ann changed her last name to Jones in honor of Jeff Jones, who pitched for the A's during that time. He was a relief pitcher who warmed up near the area where they sat in left field. Jones and Ricki spoke often and apparently Jeff Jones and his wife became close friends with Ricki and took her in like a family member. To complete her name change, Ricki choose to take the name of future Hall-of-Fame outfielder Rickey Henderson. Rich Crowl said that when Ricki started attending Quaker meeting, “she felt it was another safe haven where she was accepted unconditionally. Although she remained a loyal A’s fan in her later years, I think the Quakers provided her another very comfortable place where she could be herself.”
Ricki Ann moved to Reno, Nevada, in 2012 and transferred her membership to Reno Friends Meeting later that year. She moved here with her boyfriend Stan Marble, and they shared a small house in Reno with a dog and several cats that Ricki doted on. Ricki already had health problems, but that barely diminished her spirit. She attended Worship faithfully nearly every Sunday, and also enjoyed spiritual discussion groups, the Israeli-Palestinian discussion group that met jointly with the Unitarians, as well as potlucks and outings. She served for two years on the Oversight Committee, and also as Worship Clerk. She organized several Christmas Eve gatherings for worship, carols and cookies, as well as Halloween-themed family nights in late October that were enjoyed by the kids and everyone young at heart. She also organized several outings to the Reno Aces baseball games, attended the women's retreat one year at Lake Tahoe, and joined us once at our camping potluck dinner at Grover Hot Springs State Park in Markleeville, CA. She cared deeply about the poor and disadvantaged, and regretted that she didn’t have the strength to do more to help them. She enjoyed talking about her spiritual journey, and how it led her to the Quakers and why they were so important in her life. She was fiercely open-minded and independent of spirit, and generous with her kindnesses, particularly to the Meeting’s children. She brought cupcakes to every event.
A Memorial Meeting was held May 13, 2017, at Reno Friends Meeting, where lavender bushes were planted in her memory. She is deeply missed.