Ruth Bergstrom Jones
1927 - 2017
Ruth Jones, a pianist, organist, violist, and songwriter, enjoyed a dual career as church musician and elementary school music teacher. She and her husband, Edmund, a minister in the Seventh-day Adventist church, collaborated in music ministry for several years, assisting a number of evangelists.
Ruth Josephine was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on December 18, 1927, to Roy Raymond and Olive Sabina Bergsrom. She attended Oklahoma City Central High School and then enrolled at Southwestern Junior College, now Southwestern Adventist University, where she met Edmund Jones, a student. They transferred to Union College and following his discharge from the Navy in 1948, married on August 28. She assisted him when he entered the ministry and encouraged and helped him as he began to be involved in musical aspects of his ministry and then worked in music evangelism in Arizona, Nevada, and California.
After several years as a piano and organ teacher, accompanist, and violist, Ruth became involved in children's choirs when Edmund was pastor of the Camelback Adventist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Following a move to Glendale, California, she again became involved with children's choirs when the music teacher at Glendale Academy Elementary School resigned in January.
Rather than see the music program be discontinued, she volunteered to complete the year as music teacher for grades 1-6. She continued to teach there for seven more years. During that time Jones was able to teach three of her own children, one of her original reasons for starting to conduct children's choirs.
While at Glendale, Jones attended La Sierra College, now University, where she learned Kodaly skills and methods and then adapted them into her teaching in the classroom. When she and her husband moved to Lancaster, California, in 1974, she taught music at Antelope Valley Adventist School for twenty more years, also teaching music to her grandchildren.
Jones was also organist and choir director at the Lancaster Methodist and Adventist churches, as well as guest organist at other area churches. A viola player, Jones played for several years in the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra and in string quartets. She frequently played and sang in nearby rest homes. Through the years she was an active member of the Music Teachers Association of California, American Guild of Organists, National Association of Church Musicians, and IAMA.
Because of her many musical contributions, Jones was a finalist as Senior of the Year in Lancaster, California, in 1996. One of the persons nominating her stated,
She is a church musician who ignores the invisible borders of religion, resulting in many churches in the valley echoing with notes from her fingers on the organ and piano and the strings or voices she has organized in harmonious blend. Her high regard for music and knowledge of music theory have been bestowed on forty-plus years of school children.
In 1999, the Joneses were honored for their service when at the dedication of new school facilities for the Antelope Valley Adventist School in Lancaster, California, the school's Educational Foundation named the preschool, kindergarten, and grades one and two facility the Edmund and Ruth Jones Early Learning Center.
In 2007, the fellowship hall at the Lancaster Adventist Church was also named for them. The plaque on the front of the building reads, "The Jones Fellowship Hall. This building is dedicated to Dr. Edmund and Ruth Jones for their years of pastoral service to the Lancaster Adventist Church from 1974-1992."
The Fireside Room in The Jones Fellowship Hall is dedicated to her because of her music ministry in the church from 1974 to 1992, one that continued after that as she is served as chair of the Worship-Music Committee of the Lancaster Church and one of its organists.
Some of her compositions have been used for praise songs at the church and one, "Go and Tell," was used at a revival series in August 2008. In 2011 she published Songs of Love and Praise, a collection of over fifty compositions she had written. The spiral bound book includes piano arrangements and guitar chords for the praise songs as well as separate treble clef melody lines and words, the latter facilitating the creation of bulletin inserts.
The Jones's were living in Lancaster, California, when Ruth died on January 20, 2017.
Sources: Membership Application for IAMA membership, 1985; Ruth Bergstrom Jones, "My Music Career," The IAMA Journal, Summer 1989, 5,6 (short bio at end of the article prepared by Terry Koch); Personal Notes, IAMA Notes, Winter 1907, 6; Update emails from Jones, 13 May and 27 July 2008 and 10 July 2012; Obituary, HaleyOlsenMurphy.com.
Songs by Ruth Bergstrom Jones
A selective listing of songs published in Songs of Love and Praise
"Sing To the Lord"
"Come Unto Me"
"Glory To My God"
"Go and Tell"
"Jesus Walks Each Day With Me"
"Walking Every Day With Him"
"Peace, Joy and Love"
"Lord, I Thank You" (Thanksgiving)
"Christmas Is Coming" (Christmas)
"Christ the Lord is Risen!" (Easter)
Songs of Love and Praise is available from Dr. Edmund Jones, 5160 East K-6 Avenue, Lancaster, CA 93535 661-946-2657.