In Memory of Kenneth Dale Jones lost to Agent Orange in 2012.
Kenneth Dale Jones DOB 11-16-1949 DOD 8-20-2012. I met Ken in late June, 1969. Ten days later he was in the Army doing basic at Ft. Lewis. After that he went to Ft. Lee for training. Nov. 1st he came home on leave, proposed to me and left for Vietnam on Dec. 1. Ken was the motor pool clerk in Qui Nhon, Long My, Vietnam for 14 months.
His most memorable Agent Orange exposure? They sprayed the entire post and surrounding area, it rained that night and the next day Ken was in a crew digging in mud to prepare a helicopter landing pad. Who knows how much AO was in that mud. He was a Spec. 5 when he came home Feb. 1, 1971.
We got married June 19th, 1971. Ken had a spontaneous lung collapse in 1983, he had two more, then had surgery to remove part of one lung. Our younger son was born with Down syndrome in 1986. Ken began having depression and an REM sleep disorder around in 1985. In 1993 his depression was so bad that he was given permanent disability status by Social Security. The VA hospital in Dallas was totally useless so we had to depend on my insurance to get help for him. Emphysema was diagnosed in 1994, Reynaud’s disease 1996 and Parkinson’s 1999.
In 2007 all the expenses had mounted to the point where we were going to lose our home. Our oldest son lived in Oregon and rented an apartment for us, so we made the move.
WOW! what a difference. The VA hospital here is fantastic. He got wonderful care here. He was using a walker and had horrible tremors when the VA did a deep brain stimulation surgery for his Parkinson’s in 2010. It made a huge difference. He was diagnosed with diabetes in Dec. 2011. Aug. 2012 he couldn’t swallow anything so they did a cat scan and found 3 tumors in his throat. They put in a feeding tube, we came home and on Aug. 18 we went for a biopsy.
He died here at home less than 48 hours later because his air pipe was closed up by the tumors. Ken was a good man. He coached Little League before we had any children, he was Scout master for our older son, he became a Special Olympics coach for our younger son, he cared about all our Sp. Oly. athletes and worked hard for the group.
Agent Orange really messed up his body. Our older son was diagnosed with colitis in 1993 at the age of 20 and our youngest has Down syndrome. We can’t positively say either was caused by AO, but we often wondered.
Thank you Ken for 41 years of marriage. I miss you but I’m so glad you are no longer suffering.