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'Renaissance Man,' former UCI professor dies

Joie Pierce Jones: March 4, 1941 — June 23, 2013

July 11, 2013|By Barbara Diamond
  • Joie Pierce Jones, a Laguna Beach resident and a former professor of radiological sciences at UC Irvine, died June 23.
Joie Pierce Jones, a Laguna Beach resident and a former… (Courtesy Becky…)

Highly regarded scientist, food and wine expert and educator Joie Pierce Jones died June 23 after years of failing health. He was 72.

A memorial service will be held for the longtime Laguna Beach resident later this year, date and location to be announced.

"He was a special man," said Becky Jones, his wife of 48 years. "He will be missed."

The Joneses moved to Laguna Beach in 1977 when he was appointed professor of radiological sciences at UC Irvine.

"He knew he wanted to live in Laguna," said his wife. "He had a good friend and colleague whom he had visited here. The first thing he did was show me Bird Rock and Main Beach."

While a professor at Irvine, Jones pioneered new developments in ultrasonic imaging and tissue characterization, acoustical microscopy and non-contact ultrasonic imaging. He holds multiple patents.

He was founding president of the Orange County Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America. He was also active with Laguna's Environmental Committee and gave freely of his expertise to the city on numerous occasions, particularly on the issue of telecommunications towers.

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His expertise was also sought nationally.

Jones served on President Jimmy Carter's scientific advisory board. He played a similar role in President Barack Obama's first campaign and served as an advisor to the Obama administration on energy and medicine. He was a consultant to the Department of Energy on the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

His wife said he was honored to serve on a special committee under the Secretary General of the United Nations to investigate solutions for global warming.

Jones' interests were broad. Besides science, he was active in the arts. He was the founding president of the UCI Theater Guild and served as president of the Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society. He was a gifted musician, who played first chair cornet in the Texas state high school band.

Jones loved good food and good wine. He was a black-hat member of the California Wine and Food Society, serving for a decade as the group's wine committee chairperson. He wrote a food and wine column with his wife.

"Joie was a Renaissance man," said former Mayor Neil Fitzpatrick, a member of a dinner group to which the Joneses belonged.

"He was interested in everything and the kind of guy who made you feel good when you saw him."

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