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So sorry to hear about Vi, Her and Perk were such cool neighbors and so funny! She had such a contagious laugh and made one of the best chocolate chip cookies ever! She was a wonderful lady but don’t mess with her flowers like the time when I rode my bike through some….I didn’t get cookies for a while!!! God Bless you all!
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In celebration and loving memory…
Viola Mae Stark Jones of rural Lafayette left this world on Friday, May 19, 2023. She passed away in her
home surrounded by her beloved husband and two daughters, succumbing to dementia-related illness
after living an active life full of color and love.
Viola was born August 10, 1945, in Lafayette, Indiana to I. Ernest (Ernie) Stark and Josephine Mae
Williams Stark. She was the middle of three daughters, the elder Judith A. Stark (Jim) Scheffee of
Lafayette, and younger Nancy J. Stark Lumley (deceased). She grew up on a farm just south of Lafayette,
attended Dayton school. She graduated from Southwestern High School in 1963, where she was active
in the Pep Club and Future Homemakers Society. After graduation, Viola worked at Purdue University,
in the School of Agriculture Office of Accounting. In her early years she loved music and dancing and
would race her sister Nancy from the school bus to the house to watch American Bandstand. Four
generations of Viola’s family lived and were raised on the farm, over 65 years; as if in a twist of fate, the
farmhouse was razed just hours before she passed.
In 1963 she met her beloved husband, Paul (Perk) Robert Jones, also of Lafayette, while cruising the Park
and Eat. The two quickly became inseparable, marrying March 15, 1964, and established their first
home in Dayton, Indiana. Viola and Paul are regularly described as ‘two peas in a pod,’ ‘like peas and
carrots,’ and the loves of one another’s life. They were inseparable. Paul cared for Viola in her final
years as she slipped further and further into the clutches of dementia. His devotion to her was beyond
The couple welcomed two daughters, Dedra D. Jones Markovich and Angela S. Jones (Rob) Rainwater.
Viola was a room mother, Brownie troop leader, and PTA member. She rarely missed a softball,
volleyball, or basketball game, musical performance, or academic event. Viola was a second mom to
many and cared for a number of nieces and a nephew in times of need, due to medical crises,
guardianship assistance, or simply tough times.
In the late 70s, Viola joined the Human Resources team at CentraLab, a division of North American
Phillips, working there for nearly 10 years.
Viola spent nearly 10 years running ‘Camp Grandma,’ caring for her beloved grandchildren, Jason
Markovich, and Anna and Samuel Rainwater. She was never happier than when surrounded by the
laughter and hugs of her grandchildren—they were her truest joy in life.
Once the grandchildren entered school, Viola immersed herself in many hobbies and volunteering. She
began genealogy research, tracing two ancestors to the early 1700s who served in the Revolutionary
War. In 2010, Viola was granted membership in the General de Lafayette Chapter of the Daughters of
the American Revolution, an organization dedicated to historic preservation, education, and patriotism.
Viola was a Heritage Club member and served as Recording Secretary and Veteran’s Chair during her
tenure, which included the 125 th anniversary of the General de Lafayette Chapter, the Commemoration
of the 50 th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and annual Stand Down event, during which Lafayette
homeless and at-risk veterans and their families receive food, health screenings, benefits counseling,
clothing, and other services. Viola was very proud of her DAR membership and was committed to
recognizing and serving veterans in the Greater Lafayette area.
Viola was an avid gardener, nurturing beautiful gardens around her home. She completed the Purdue
Master Gardener program in 2011, and for several years volunteered in planning and upkeep of the
Children’s Garden at the Purdue Extension Service Community Gardens. Viola put her gardening skills to
work each summer at The Plant Lady with her very dear friends Ferol, Carol, and Sharon.
Viola maintained an active, vibrant lifestyle in her spare time, volunteering for IU Health Arnett Hospital
Gift Shop, golfing, and attending fitness and dance classes. Viola and Paul enjoyed ballroom dancing for
20 years, where they made lifelong friends; traveled the country and cruised the Caribbean Seas with
family and friends; and maintained close connections to friends, neighbors, and family, organizing
reunions, dog sitting, and attending sporting and performance events of many nieces and nephews.
“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You need not be educated to serve. You only
need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Viola was a true Matriarch and servant. She loved fiercely, and believed love was a gift to share with
others; she shared her gift of love with all she encountered. In her honor, we ask that you share your
gift of love today, show kindness to others, volunteer, serve.
Viola is survived by her husband Paul, daughters Dedra Markovich and Angela (Rob) Rainwater,
grandchildren Jason Paul Markovich, Anna Marie Rainwater, Samuel Robert (Gabrielle) Rainwater, and
great-grandchildren Laeken and Myles Rainwater; as well as her sister Judith Stark (Jim) Scheffee and
many beloved nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents I. Ernest and Josephine
Williams Stark, and sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and George Lumley.
The family would like to thank the dedicated professionals from IU Health Arnett Home Care and
Hospice for their compassionate care of Viola in her final months. A very special thanks to Sherry
Robinson, Home Care Aid—you are the best! Special thanks as well to Erik Lightner, M.Div., Chaplain,
and Jason Hendrick, MD.
A Celebration of Life will be held June 5, 2023, at Tippecanoe Memory Gardens Funeral Chapel, 3631
Morehouse Road, West Lafayette. Visitation to begin at 1:00pm, with Celebration Services beginning at
3:00pm. Guests are encouraged to dress colorfully for the service, in Viola’s honor. Interment to occur
at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to “Scholarship Fund – General de Lafayette Chapter, NSDAR”
or “Veteran’s Fund – General de Lafayette Chapter, NSDAR,” P.O. Box 1, Lafayette, IN 47902.
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