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Jackie Jones

Jackie Jones

Jackie C. Jones has been married to Fred Jones 22 years.  They have five grown children and nine grandchildren.  Jackie graduated from a 3-year School of Nursing in 1959 and went back to college part-time and received a BS with honors, in Nursing while working full time at a Home Health Agency and running household of husband and four children. She was Chairman of the negotiating team when the nurses unionized and met with the Home Health Agency for better working conditions and wages. Jackie is a Certified Occupational Health Nurse.  She was employed as Nurse Manager of Health at Electric Boat and last employed as Project Manager of Health, of the Safety and Health Office at the Naval Underwater Systems Center in Newport.  Jackie retired from nursing to move to Florida.  Jackie enjoys, sewing, knitting, reading, and playing croquet.

Jackie played the game of backyard croquet at family gatherings for many years and always loved it. She was introduced to the American game of 6 wicket as a spectator at the New England Regional in Newport, RI, 1988. She observed Debbie Prentis playing Bob Kroeger in the semi-finals. That peaked her interest as she thought, “Gee, she’s a woman and she’s doing pretty well against this guy.” A year later after her husband, Fred, had picked up the sport, she began to play in Newport on weekends only, as she was still full-time employed in nursing.

Jackie credits Bob Kroeger’s initial lessons to giving her a very strong foundation and good basic understanding of the game. She became involved and still is very involved in playing, teaching and promoting this wonderful sport of croquet. Jackie became President of the Newport Casino Croquet Club, and started playing in tournaments while improving her skills at the sport.  As Tournament Manager, she assisted the Tournament Director, Fred, in running many local tournaments including the New England Regionals, for several years in Newport for the summer season. Jackie was also a volunteer with transportation at the Worlds when held in Newport, and therefore had a wonderful opportunity to meet and chat with players from all over the world while transporting them to different venues.

Jackie has been a member of the USCA since 1989. She joined through the Newport Casino Croquet club and has been a member through various clubs since and is presently a member through the Sarasota County Croquet Club (SCCC).

In 1990 Jackie and Fred moved into their newly built home in Venice, FL, in the Waterford development, and with the developer, put in 2 croquet lawns and founded the Waterford Croquet Club. Realizing that to properly teach the sport one had to become better educated in the sport, they went to Instructor School at USCA and became Certified Instructors.  As a Certified Instructor, Jackie taught croquet professionally at the Audubon Country Club in Naples from 1992 to 2002. Locally she taught and promoted croquet at Waterford, the Oaks, University Park and Riverwood. She is Tournament Director or Manager for many local tournaments.

For the National Organization of USCA, Jackie served as District President of Rhode Island; she served on the USCA Nominating Committee for 4 years (1995-1999), was Chairperson 2 of those years, and served as a board member of the Croquet Foundation of America in 2003. She was selected to the CFA board, and served one year, resigning to devote her full time to promoting and development of the SCCC.  Jackie has made the SCCC one of the outstanding clubs in the country.  She is certified as a National Referee and as a National Instructor by USCA.  Jackie is the #1 ranked woman in the country for most of the last 11 years. She has competed in the championship flight for the last 14 years and presently holds a minus-one half handicap. She held a –1 handicap for over a year.  Jackie is the only woman in the US to reach that level. She is the winner of the FL State Singles and Doubles Championship in 2000. She has won or placed in many tournaments about the country. With Fred as her partner, they captured the title of Seniors/Masters Doubles Championship in 2003 and 2004. Jackie won the SCCC Singles And Doubles Championship in 2003.  She is the recipient of the USCA Peyton Ballenger Memorial Award initiated in 1993 (an annual award presented to the woman who places highest in the USCA Nationals) for the years 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008.  She did not compete in three of the in-between years.

Jackie is a founder and the President of the Sarasota Croquet Club since its inception in 2000, now known as the Sarasota County Croquet Club (SCCC).  The club grew from its original core of 14 members to 60 after 4 years and was limited to playing on one lawn bowling green in Sarasota.  Jackie, through her negotiations with the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department, and after making presentations to the Parks Planning Board and the Venice City Council, was instrumental in getting 3 full-size courts dedicated to croquet, built on city park property in Venice. The county parks department maintains the courts. Through Jackie’s efforts with the news media, the new croquet venture in Venice parks system has been very well publicized with full page spreads in two local newspapers, croquet articles and pictures in various local magazines and two television stations, Channel 6 and WEVU public broadcasting

Jackie organized and keeps the member’s interests by six-wicket singles play Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, and a twilight league during daylight-saving time. The turnout has necessitated cutting the three full-size courts into five or six half-sized courts to handle the number of players. 

Jackie volunteers her time and maintains a schedule at the Sarasota County Croquet Club, which has caused the club to flourish. She conducts a 2-hour clinic, advertised in the local paper as open to the public, to promote new members, each Tuesday morning, and another clinic about 6-wicket play for members on Thursday mornings. She has instructed and encouraged newer members to join the teaching team and has many dedicated members involved in the functioning of the club. This schedule has been maintained from September to June for the past four years.  In addition, she has organized Tuesday afternoon golf croquet, which draws 40 to 50 members, each time. The following numbers best show the success of this program, and her effort. Since December of 2004 when the club moved to the Venice location, the membership has increased from about 50 members to a high of 175 members. The club currently has about 120 USCA members paying directly through the SCCC plus 23 seasonal members.   The majority of these members are new to croquet.

During the last two years Jackie has felt that with the basics that have been accomplished in Venice she could show a way to expand croquet throughout the country. She has devoted her time and energy to accomplish these goals. The Sarasota County Croquet Club is a shining example of what can be done to promote croquet, and to increase the membership of USCA. She has attended both planning sessions of USCA, and has added to the discussions. The recent article by Bob Alman gives a detailed history of the formation of the Sarasota County Club.

Jackie is dedicated to promoting the sport of croquet not only in her playing ability but also in how she conducts herself on and off the lawns. Jackie presents herself as a role model for women in the sport, and has tremendously encouraged others by saying: “I want people, especially women, to know that they can accomplish the same things in croquet that I have accomplished.”

Jackie Jones was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 2008.

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