VENICE — The life of Croquet Hall of Fame member Fred Jones was celebrated Wednesday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Venice.
Fred and his wife, Jackie, were founders of the Sarasota County Croquet Club, and moved the club from Sarasota to Venice’s Wellfield Sports Complex in 2004.
The couple took up American wicket game of croquet in 1988 while in Rhode Island.
He later became involved with the United States Croquet Association, eventually becoming a championship player.
He won the National Masters tournaments in 1997 and in 2008. He placed second three times.
He was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 2005. Jackie was inducted in 2008.
Hans Peterson, president of the Sarasota County Croquet Club, said Fred Jones had a profound impact on the game of croquet.
“He was a true class act. An icon,” Peterson said.
On social media, condolences poured in from all over the world, Peterson said at the service.
He read a few to the hundreds who gathered for a final send-off wearing their whites:
“He was a good man and great for the game.”
“Respect is the word that comes to mind when I think of Fred.”
“You were a bright light. We were blessed to have known you.”
“A genuine gentleman of croquet.”
“He will be terribly missed,” Peterson said. “It will be a long time before we stop telling stories.”
Jones, 92, died suddenly at home on Nov. 26 after a peaceful day, which began with a game of croquet.