Hilda “Pat” (Young) Jones was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1925. She grew up in Clayton, and graduated from Mary Institute in 1943. She went on to study soil science at the University of Missouri in Columbia where she graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1950. Soon after graduation, she married Edward D. “Ted” Jones Jr. of Edward Jones Investments. They lived in Montgomery City, visiting property in nearby Prairie Fork owned by Ted’s father on the weekends. Eventually, they built a house on land in what is now the Prairie Fork Conservation Area.
Since both of her parents were nature enthusiasts, Pat’s love of the environment comes as no surprise. Pat and her husband were instrumental in several prominent environmental projects within the state, including the establishment of the Katy Trail. The Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones–Confluence Point State Park in St. Louis and the Pat Jones Pedestrian/Bicycle Lane on the Missouri River Bridge linking Jefferson City to the Katy Trail are named in her honor. Through the Prairie Fork Conservation Area and all of its programs, Pat sought to expose young children to the natural environment and inspire them to look after their surroundings.
For her work in conservation and environmental causes, People magazine dubbed Pat the "Prairie Godmother." She was also awarded the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Frederick B. Mumford Award by the University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources in 2013. Until the end of her life, Pat Jones remained active in the day-to-day operations of the Prairie Fork Conservation Area.
Hilda "Pat" Jones passed away on December 17, 2018. For information on the life of Pat Jones see the Katy Trail State Park Collection (CA6007). In this interview from 2014, Pat talks with Jeff D. Corrigan about her life, career, and environmental activism.
The opinions expressed in this audio recording are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and values of the State Historical Society of Missouri.