Dec. 18, 1951-July 13, 2019
Palo Alto, California
Barbara Ellis Jones, 67, passed away on July 13, 2019, after a short battle with aggressive lung cancer. She left us peacefully, with a view of her beautiful Palo Alto garden, her children holding her hands.
The oldest of five, Barb grew up in St. Louis. At Georgetown University, she earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in Economics. After raising her three kids in Palo Alto and Nantucket, Mass., she dedicated her time to transforming the lives of women and girls worldwide.
A philanthropist, civic leader, and community volunteer, Barb was a founding member of the Maverick Collective, a new philanthropic model aimed at ending extreme poverty by investing in girls and women. She spearheaded a project in Myanmar that made enormous strides in reducing gender-based violence. She was also a founding member of WANDA, a California nonprofit that helps lift single mothers out of poverty.
“I have been unbelievably fortunate in my life,” she said to a group of women in Myanmar, “and have seen so many places where women are not. I want to do what I can to help.”
Barb served on the Board of Regents at Georgetown University and the Board of Caminar Family and Children’s Services. She was a member of the Silicon Valley Executive Committee of Human Rights Watch, a Trustee of the Nantucket Atheneum, and President of the Nantucket Garden Club; and a supporter of the Global Fund for Women, The School Fund, GAIA, Eastside Prep, and Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund.
Above all, Barb was a caring, open-hearted mother who cherished her three kids, and made their partners part of her family. Barb loved people, and built community wherever she went, from international philanthropic networks to book clubs on both coasts. She will be remembered for her kindness, compassion, and cheery smile.
She is survived by her mother, Joyce Ellis; her father and stepmother, Jack and Dottie Ellis; her children, Harvey Jones III (Katie Farley), Carey Jones (John McCarthy), and Greg Jones (Lauren Marrone); their father, Harvey Jones, Jr.; her brothers, John, Joe, Dave, and Jim Ellis; her half-sister, Colleen Stock (Paul); and many more family and friends who loved her dearly.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, July 27, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto (505 East Charleston Road). Memorial contributions may be made to Caminar Family and Children’s Services.