In Memory

Jon Liles

 Yearbook quote: "There is nothing like fun, is there?"

Jon passed away Saturday night, January 23, 2010, at 9 PM in Pomona Valley Hospital, quietly in his sleep with his wife Linn and daughter Lisa at his side.
He fought the mighty fight against esophageal cancer that finally spread to his lungs.  Through the months of pain and nausea, Jon kept an upbeat and optimistic attitude, happily chatting with classmates who called or visited.  He LOVED the attention and appreciated every single call.  He celebrated just a few days of knowing his throat tumor was gone and enjoying the antics of his new Great Dane puppy before pneumonia sent him to the hospital and the lung cancer was found.  His passing was swift after that.

There will not be a memorial service.  Jon will live forever in all of our hearts as the President of the 2% Club, hot rod buff and mischievous classmate.  Our hearts go out Linn and to Ellen, Jon's sister, CHS 1963, and to his daughter Lisa and the entire family.
Claremont COURIER/Saturday, January 30, 2010
Jon R. Liles 
Loyal friend and family man, hotrod enthusiast, lifelong Claremonter
Not everyone has a fan club. And certainly hardly anyone has a fan club devoted exclusively to collecting the broken bats of their object of affection. But lifelong Claremont resident Jon Roy Liles did. An “awesome baseball player” at Claremont High School in the late 50s and early 60s, said his daughter, Mr. Liles was a homerun hitter who sacri-ficed many a bat to the sport and to the delight of his groupies.
Mr. Liles, in fact, had many fans, from his comrades at CHS, to his dozens of friends around town to his 2 grand-daughters and his number one fan, his daughter, who cherishes the unique relationship they shared.
“He gave me such an unconventional and interesting childhood. I went every-where with him and just learned so much,” said his daughter, Lisa Crowe.
On January 23, 2010, Mr. Liles died of cancer, less than a year after diagnosis.
Born in Los Angeles in 1942, Mr. Liles grew up in Claremont where his parents, Ruth and Toby Liles had been longtime residents. His father’s brother was the “Everett” of Everett’s Shoe Repair in the Claremont Village.
An athlete and a highly sociable fellow at CHS, he was a proud member of the Wolfpack class of 1961 and president of their “2%” club.
“It was a sort of funny little thing they started,” said Ms. Crowe. “There was a 98% club for the really good kids and, well, they were the other 2%.”
Over the years, Mr. Liles kept in close contact with fellow members of the class of ’61 and enjoyed attending his class re-unions and events. Wherever he went, he made friends quickly and easily, and he maintained friendships with people from all walks of life.
“The neat thing about him,” said his daughter, “is that he had friends from the poorest of the poor, to the richest of the rich.
“And though he did some funky things sometimes, he would always give anybody the shirt off his back.”
In addition to his friends, Mr. Liles’ other passions included storytelling, pulling pranks, spending time with his dogs, taking as many trips to In-N-Out Burger as possible, collecting and sprucing up hotrods and, most of all, his family.
“He had a heart of gold, and he never failed to be there for his loved ones,” his daughter shared.
A doting grandfather to his 2 grand-daughters, “he would do anything for them,” she added. “He loved being a grandpa.”
And, he loved his hotrods. Over the years, Mr. Liles owned more than 500 hotrods, Ms. Crowe estimated. “One day he’d take me to school on a motorcycle, and one day in a limousine,” she recalled. “He was a fanatic.”
He would buy, fix and sell hotrods, owning them for short or long periods of time during which he took great pleasure in taking them for spins around town, visiting friends and enjoying his favorite activity: just hangin’ out.
During his lifetime, Mr. Liles held a variety of jobs. He worked at car dealer-ships, in maintenance for apartment buildings, as a bouncer at clubs and more.
Mr. Liles is survived by his wife, Linda Liles; his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Bill Crowe; his granddaughters, Ashley Hix and Kellie Crowe; and his sisters and brothers-in-law, Ellen and Ron Boroch and Liz and Steve Golling. No services will be held.

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02/01/10 10:47 AM #1    

(Dail) Ruthi Dworak-Crockett

Jon Liles
Classmate & Friend

There they were in their leather sleeved jackets and their D.A.’s -- hanging out in front of the cafeteria/gym. Mumbling to each other……..Oooooooooo…the “bad guys” that brought so much intrigue to our school ~ what are they going to do next? Made coming to school “dangerous” and suspenseful.

By the time we graduated, Joe, Jon, David, Blair, were a wonderful part of our class. We were all excited when we found out that like the rest of us, they had worked just as hard as we had and we all marched down Big Bridges, 2%gether.

Over the years, Jon spent a major portion of his life caring for his ailing dad. That takes a character trait that puts him in yet another 2% club. For over 20 years, Jon nursed his dad and the pretty girl, Linn, he had given his heart to, nursed her dad…………………………now that is dedication to put one’s lives on hold to care for parents. One day, each had held hands and said “farewell” to their beloved parents, and joined hands in matrimony to complete their lives.

Jon NEVER deserted any of his friends… they the 2% club or any of our class. Where he could help, he would quietly and with great compassion be there. How many of our classmates shared his love for classic cars????

We all rejoiced when, as president of the 2% club, Jon presented our wonderful Mother Wolf, Sharon, with her own, 2% honorary membership. There wasn’t a person in the room who wouldn’t have enjoyed a junior membership, too.

On Saturday evening, January 23rd, 2010, Jon joined Joe, David, Lester and Bruce. He turned the reigns over to the last man standing, Blair.

Jon, we will miss you. You have impacted each of our lives…………Blair, we are here for you.

This is farewell dear life friend…………………each of us has a 102% hole in each of our hearts…….You, Sir, fought the good fight with dignity and honor.
See you on the other side………………..
By the way…………thanks for answering our life time question………..
(who was it that crammed the cherry bombs in the second floor boys’ bathroom)

02/10/10 04:52 PM #2    

Donna Heavyside (Westlund)

All of my classmates and I are going to miss Jon Liles. What a gentle soul and gallant classmate he was! May I express my sincere sympathy to his wife and family.

Donna Heavyside Westlund
Class of 61

03/19/10 12:09 AM #3    

Robert Rixon Frampton


06/29/10 07:59 AM #4    

Diane Neill

Ah Jon!  You always surprised us with your antics and humor, not caring what anyone thought.  Some of "dissaproved"  but could hardly wait for the next episode of improvised jokes.  I saw you only at  the reunions and your big, loving heart was a joy to see.  Love and Peace Diane

10/07/10 03:26 AM #5    

Steve Burt

Jon’s great girth never came in second to the size of his immense heart. As my memory fades I recall first running into “Lolly” in the seventh-grade at the old senior high. A group of us were ushered into a room and told we were selected as special students and would forego our social studies class to provide the school with important sociological information. Yes, this was the beginning of the “Two-percent Club.” Those who remember will also recall parents were outraged by the school’s insensitive approach to using young teenagers as guinea pigs.

Jon, Blair, Bruce, Lester et al somehow enjoyed their chosen place on the totem pole and managed to survive the brutes in the upper-classes. It didn’t take long for this little guy to check out of the “Club.” Jon was and will always be the “president” because he was able to span the borders between the village folk and the over-achievers.

My fondest memories of Jon was him playing first-base because he couldn’t run, wearing uniforms at times two-sizes too small and wielding a piece of lumber Paul Bunyan couldn’t carry. Lolly owned the tennis courts in right field not because the fence was only 250-feet from home plate but rather his Ruthian swing couldn’t produce less. We drifted a bit at the new junior high except for summer baseball and, of course, being teammates on Eddie Wolfe’s immortal pony league championship team. I miss those days and tonight as I pen this belated memorial to Jon his spirit comes back to me in all its glory.

09/06/12 11:49 AM #6    

Allan Preston

My name is Allan Preston.  I first met Jon when we both attended the new El Roble Junior High School on  mountain Ave. I was extremely shy at the time, and Jon kept me from being a complete recluse.

As we grew older, cars became the focal point in our young lives!  Just after meeeting Jon, I began building my first hot rod.  With my father''s assistance, we rebuilt a '31 Model 'A' Ford Coupe with a Chrysler V-8.  It was fast, but difficult to insure.

At the same time, my father & brother built a dragster, which we ran at the Pomona Drags!  Jon would often come out and and see the dragster run.  We were both 'nuts' about cars, and never tired of talking about them! 

In fact, Jon introduced me to a new hamburger 'joint' on Towne Ave. It was called 'In & Out' Hamburgers, and the 'love affair' continues even to today!  Being a follower, I oftentimes got into trouble,  We shared many a study-hall with Ted Duncan after school!

Seventh Grade was particulary difficult since our class had to attend the high school, until the new Junior High was completed. I was a complete hermit, and rarely talked to anyone!  That all changed when I met Jon!  He was a large young man, and few 'bad-mouthered' him.

I well remember the 2% club members leaning on the guardrail, waiting for the second lunch group to walk bye.  He could 'bad-mouth' the best of them without blinking an eye!  He also got along with the 'Foot- Ball Pllayers, and never feared reprisal!

After I left school, I rarely saw him when I was arrending Chaffey College.  It seemed to me, he never left the high school environment!  I often wondered what had happened after I went to Vietnam, and got Married?

The last I ever saw Jon, was when I had  traveled in from Arizona, to attend a conference in Los Angeles.  My wife and I had stopped at an 'In & Out stand on Fooothill blvd. in Rancho Cucamonga, while a voice yelled: "Don't you have a job?'.  It was Jon Liles, a little older but still the 'smart-ass'.

We talked a few minutes, then excused himself , saying he way on his way to buy a car!' That was the last I ever saw of him!  I wish I would have taken the time to look him up once!

He allowed me to handle my self-respect issues, until I had a better footing in life.  God Bless you Jon, and I wil never forget you!







07/25/14 09:19 AM #7    

Allan Preston

My name is Allan Preston. I have written a story about an adventure Jon & I shared one summer afternoon. It is called : "Roughing it, and I just posted it on Class Chats...hope you like it since Jon was my best friend growing up and I truly miss him!

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