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Local Businessman & Idaho Lottery Commission Chairman Roger Jones Dies

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By Paul Johnson

Glenns Ferry, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) - The man who created Pringles Potato Chips, advanced technology for dried Potato Flake Processing and was the owner of Carmela Winery in Glenns Ferry has passed away. Roger Jones, 75 was also the Idaho Lottery Commission Chairman. Roger died at his home at his Carmela Winery. He served on the Idaho Lottery Commission since March of 1995 and had been Chairman since November of 2003.

“I have lost a friend, the Idaho Lottery has lost one of its strongest advocates, and Idaho has lost a unique personal treasure with the passing of Roger Jones,” said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. “His leadership was exemplary and he was the embodiment of the true Idaho pioneering spirit.”

Roger Jones was a true innovator in Idaho, and one of the State’s original potato barons, as he advanced the technology for dried potato-flake processing. He eventually worked with Proctor & Gamble to create Pringles Potato Chips. In recent years, Roger was the proprietor of Carmela Vineyards and Winery in Glenns Ferry. A graduate of the University of Idaho, Roger was one of the school’s most dedicated Vandal supporters.

“’One of a kind’ is a term that is used too often these days but in Roger's case it fits,” said fellow Idaho Lottery Commissioner David Keyes of Sandpoint, Idaho. “Idaho lost one of its biggest boosters yesterday. He was all about Idaho and talked about Idaho to anyone who would listen. He made friends faster than anyone I have known. Roger never missed a chance to strike up a conversation and nearly every conversation turned into something to do with his home state, potatoes, the Idaho Lottery, wine, or his beloved Vandals.”

During his tenure as an Idaho Lottery Commissioner and later as Chairman, Roger watched the Lottery grow from its infancy and helped nurture its development into full maturity. In 1995, Idaho Lottery sales were $87.9 million with a dividend of $19 million returned to Idahoans. Just a month ago, Jones and the Idaho Lottery Commission returned a dividend of $48.2 million on the strength of $197.6 million in sales. During his time on the Commission, Roger led a group that returned over $522 million in Lottery dividends to the people of Idaho for the benefit of public schools and the State of Idaho’s Permanent Building Fund.

“Roger was a good and decent man, a business leader, a community leader, and a dedicated public servant,” said Idaho Lottery Commissioner Mel Fisher of Boise. “He put in the time and effort to make enterprises successful. He was inclusive in his processes and always made everyone feel welcomed wherever he was. He will be sorely missed by me, the Idaho Lottery and Idaho.”

“Words can't express the character of Roger Jones. There has been no better face or representative of the Idaho Lottery than Roger,” said Commissioner Jim Rehder of Cottonwood. “I have known Roger for almost two years and it seems like I have known him forever. He was a fine gentleman, businessman, and a great chairman of the Idaho Lottery. I share with many in our state and around the globe, the grief of Roger's sudden passing.”

“Roger was a wealth of knowledge not just about the Lottery, but about Idaho as a whole,” said Commissioner Craig Corbett of Grace. “He was invaluable not just to the Lottery, but to the entire State. His quality and character is not something you replace.”

Services for Roger Jones will be held:

Monday, August 26, 2013
10 a.m.
Methodist Church
605 H Street
Rupert, Idaho


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