Lloyd Jones, technical mastermind of KOMO-TV broadcasts of Husky football games and a pioneer among Seattle's black broadcast engineers, died of cancer Monday (July 13). He was 63.
Friends say he didn't mind being in the shadow of his older brother, legendary musician Quincy Jones. That's because Lloyd Jones cast a big shadow of his own in local broadcast and jazz circles.
Mr. Jones launched his own broadcast career spinning jazz discs on "The Soulful Sunday Session" on KYAC, one of Seattle's first black radio stations.
"He was an inspiration to me and all of us here," said Jimm Brown, KOMO's manager of community relations and a former producer.
"In terms of broadcast engineering, there wasn't a whole heck of a lot that Lloyd could not do. . . . He could install an audio board, run it, build it, take it apart, build it again . . . whether it was the amplifiers for the master control, or screwing in a light bulb, he was meticulous."
Mr. Jones, a gently funny, soft-spoken man, was a Chicago native. He moved with his family to Bremerton in 1943 and to Seattle in 1944. He ran track at Garfield High School, where he graduated in 1952.
He grew up with jazz. At age 15, while working in a meat market run by bandleader Bumps Blackwell, Mr. Jones met musician Ray Charles and many others who played with Blackwell.
Mr. Jones trailed along when his brother Quincy visited juke joints in Chicago and Seattle, and was featured in the 1990 film "Listen Up! The Lives of Quincy Jones."
Mr. Jones briefly attended Washington State University, then served in the Air Force.
After the service, he waited tables until he realized he didn't want to spend his life running with food or water when people snapped their fingers. He worked two jobs to pay his way through Edison Technical Institute, then earned an FCC radio-operator's license in 1964.
"At the time there were no black engineers in the field and no promise of jobs, so he created his own," said a friend, author James McBride. "He served as a disc jockey, engineer and newscaster at KYAC-FM."
Mr. Jones joined KOMO in 1970. He worked as a special-projects engineer, tackling even the most daunting technical challenges, until retiring in 1997. One of his most satisfying jobs was as key technician for University of Washington football games.
McBride wrote his own obituary for Mr. Jones, in which he quoted Quincy Jones: "His dying was like part of my own soul dying. I looked out for him when we were younger, but later in life it was he who grounded me, not the other way around."
Other survivors include his wife of 32 years, Cynthia "Gloria" Jones of Seattle; his son, Marlon Jones, also of Seattle; his brothers Richard Jones and Waymond Miller of Seattle; his sisters Theresa Frank of Seattle, Katherine Conroy and Janet Christmas of Portland, and Madra Jay of Anchorage; his mother, Sarah Jones of Seattle; and his stepmother, Elvira Miller.
A memorial gathering is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. today at Southwest Mortuary, 9021 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle.
Remembrances may go to Medina Children's Services, 123 16th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122.