Story and photo by SHAANTAI LEARY
There was no electricity, so she and her brothers and sisters would use a gas lamp to do homework. On the weekends, they would do their wash in the river. Her father was an alcoholic who beat her and her siblings often; her mother was a seamstress as well as the homemaker.
“I own[ed] my first pair of shoes when I was 13 years old,” Jones said; they were a gift from her sister for her 6th grade graduation.
When she was young, Jones would sell things such as salt in the town market. The money allowed her to help out with school supplies for all 11 children; she was seventh from the oldest. “I was in sales since I was a little girl,” Jones said with a chuckle in her voice.
Jones eventually landed a job with the Hyatt hotel in the Philippines. The Hyatt then found her a position in Los Angeles, Calif. She accepted the job offer knowing that she would be leaving behind two young sons, who were 2 and 2 months old at the time, until she could get them visas to enter the U.S.
Every day she would ride the bus two hours from Glendale to L.A. just to get to work. “It was an experience,” Jones said.
She would send the money she made back to her family in the Philippines to help them raise her children. It was not until three years later that Jones was able to get her two children visas to bring them to America. By this time she was working for the Hilton in Las Vegas.
She had decided to start looking for a suitable partner so that her children could have a father figure. Jones married a man by the name of Blake Jones and they all moved to Utah in 1995. She decided to take real estate classes and in 1996 she got her license. One year later Better Home and Garden gave her the Rookie of the Year award.
Tim Ryan, 44, has bought and sold several homes using Jones’ assistance. He met her in 2005 while touring a home for sale. Ryan said he ended up purchasing the home because of Jones.
Currently, he is selling his home in Olympus Cove; Jones is the Realtor. Ryan likes to use her services because she has a “pocket full of clients.” He described her as being very persistent and realistic.
“It’s never a letdown, that’s what I like about her,” Ryan said. He feels that Jones is “more than a Realtor.” Ryan and his wife now have dinner with Jones and have developed a more personal relationship.