Aug. 22, 2013 – Roger Jones, described as “a true innovator,” “one of Idaho’s biggest boosters,” and “invaluable..to the entire state,” passed away Tuesday at his home on his own Carmela Winery in Glenns Ferry. He was 75.
“I have lost a friend, the Idaho Lottery has lost one of its strongest advocates, and Idaho has lost a unique personal treasure with the passing of Roger Jones,” said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery director. “His leadership was exemplary and he was the embodiment of the true Idaho pioneering spirit.”
Jones was one of the state’s original “potato barons,” according to a KMVT report. He advanced technology for the processing of dried potato flakes, eventually working with Proctor & Gamble to create the Pringles potato chip.
As a Commissioner of the Idaho Lottery, and later its Chairman, Jones helped build the Lottery, and in this past year returned nearly $50 million to the state. During his tenure, the Lottery returned a total of $522 million to the state of Idaho for public education, and Idaho’s Permanent Building Fund.
In recent years, Jones split his time between the Carmela Vineyard and Winery, the Lottery, and the golf course, said Idaho’s KTVB news. A graduate of the University of Idaho, Jones was a dedicated fan and supporter of the Vandals’ sports teams.
“He made friends faster than anyone I have known. Roger never missed a chance to strike up a conversation and nearly every conversation turned into something to do with his home state, potatoes, the Idaho Lottery, wine, or his beloved Vandals,” said fellow Idaho Lottery Commissioner David Keyes.
“’One of a kind’ is a term that is used too often these days but in Roger’s case it fits,” Keyes said.
“There has been no better face or representative of the Idaho Lottery than Roger,” said Commissioner Jim Rehder. “I share with many in our state and around the globe, the grief of Roger’s sudden passing.”
Commissioner Craig Corbett said Jones was “a wealth of knowledge about… Idaho as a whole. He was invaluable not just to the Lottery, but to the entire State. His quality and character is not something you replace.”