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RIP Folis Jones

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On April 22, 2016 at the age of 80, Francis Folis Jones crossed the finish line for the last time. He “slipped the surly bonds of earth and is dancing the skies on laughter silvered wings.” Always one to take all life could offer he lived hard and fast but passed all too soon. He is survived by his wife Evelyn, three children Beth, Chip and Kathe, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren, many friends and “adopted” family.

Folis served as a Senior Chief Machinist Mate in the US Navy on the Harder (submarine). This daring undersea raider played a key role in the Cuban missile crisis blockade as well as many other important missions.

After retiring from the Navy, he went to Wesleyan and Radford College receiving his Masters in Clinical Psychology. Shortly after that, he ended up in prison. There he found a second career as a Chief Psychologist for the Virginia Department of Corrections. After serving 23 years, he was finally granted parole and started his second retirement.

Throughout it all, he was an avid motorsports enthusiast. He built and raced Formula V’s, Formula Fords, Formula Atlantics and Sports Renault with SCCA and IMSA from 1965 through 1988. During this time he won many awards and championships.

He hung up the racing gloves and took a try at building his own biplane, the Poosemoth. Folis and Evelyn constructed it in their garage. The “Poose” was an artfully crafted and precise aircraft. He flew it to Sun and Fun Fly-In in Lakeland Florida in 2000. In preparation for that momentous trip, he made a perfect landing on Route 58 in Capron in 1997.

As the years went by, at the age of 69, Folis again went back to auto racing. He joined up with National Auto Sports Association (NASA). There, he enjoyed regular weekends at tracks like Rockingham, Daytona, Virginia International Raceway, Summit Point, Carolina Motorsports Park and of course Roebling Road where he and Evelyn met, “by accident.” Evelyn and he built “Maggie” a Birkin Lotus-7. Throughout the years, he and Evelyn modified “Maggie” just as they had done with their other race cars years earlier. The final revision appears in the picture here. In these years, he shared his knowledge and expertise with hundreds of students as he served in the role of instructor. He was a fine ambassador of the sport and inspired many drivers.

Folis was able to tell a story like no other. He had accumulated such a vast amount of experiences and knowledge. And he was happy to share with anyone willing to listen. He was passionate about his Irish heritage and passionate about life. He loved animals, especially his dogs. He was always there when you really needed a friend. He was funny and witty. He could recite a quote to cover just about any occasion. He was silly and never quite grew up. He was loved by many. He will be very dearly missed.

Evelyn will be hosting a celebration of his life later this year.

In lieu of flowers, please make charitable donations to: St. Judes Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee, Shriners Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida or the Suffolk Humane Society.

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