Cover photo for Dr. Dan Elkins Jones's Obituary

Dr. Dan Elkins Jones

February 3, 1947 — December 8, 2023

Oklahoma City

Dr. Dan Elkins Jones

 

Dan was a smart guy; anyone who knew him would agree on that... He knew a lot about a lot. Knowledge was definitely something he valued in himself and in others. Most people who are that smart can make you feel less smart; but somehow Dan always made you feel exceedingly capable. He was generous with his knowledge, whether sharing his incredible vocabulary to help you find just the right word or teaching you a new skill in the kitchen. Still, if you had ever taught him something new, he would intentionally remind you that he had learned it from you. He made you feel important, cared for, and needed.

Dan extended his generosity to the young people he interacted with throughout his life. He saw them as his equal and had the ability to make them feel like their questions held merit and their thoughts belonged in the room. Dan had the ability to help you see yourself through his eyes, and that ability led those around him, young and old, to feel valued and worthy of respect.

He was a handsome, kind, attentive, loving, brave, and honorable man. Brave in the most unmistakable way, he served his country and was showered with medals for his courage and prowess as a soldier in Vietnam. He enlisted in the Army on 25 August 1966, after completing Artillery Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned on 6 August 1968. During his service, he earned the Jungle Expert Badge awarded following training in the Panama Canal Zone, a Bronze Star with “V” Device awarded on 7 June 1969, the Purple Heart awarded on 26 June 1969, Silver Star awarded on 5 August 1969, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star awarded on 8 August 1969, Air Medal with “V” Device awarded on 12 August 1969, and  the Combat Infantryman’s Badge awarded for service in Vietnam.

In one of his times of dire peril, he and his company of elite South Vietnamese soldiers encountered an estimated battalion of North Vietnamese. The ensuing battle lasted through five days, during which Dan displayed repeated acts of gallantry despite having been wounded early in the conflict. As a result of his singularly impressive display of battlefield courage, the inspired men of his company achieved a hard-won victory.

 On the last day of the battle, when medical helicopters finally arrived, he elected to delay his own evacuation. Instead, he supervised the evacuation of other injured soldiers, ensuring that the most critically wounded were evacuated first. For his conspicuous gallantry, he was awarded the Silver Star by the US Army and the Gallantry Cross with Silver Star by the government of South Vietnam.

After leaving the Army, Dan began his studies in clinical psychology at Oklahoma State University, where he met Renee, his future wife. They developed a life that they enjoyed living together. Dan loved his work as a clinical psychologist, including his development of a post- traumatic stress disorder clinic at the VA Medical Center in Oklahoma City, OK. He cherished time spent with his many friends. Time spent with them typically involved lively discussions on a wide variety of topics. His best friend was Renee, his beloved wife of fifty-one years.

Dan enjoyed traveling with Renee, interacting with their pets, and collecting art. Dan’s favorite activity was preparing dinner each night for Renee. He loved to cook and experiment with unusual ingredients and techniques. He had an adventurous palate and a pantry full of spices. He enjoyed introducing people to new flavors and cuisines. Cooking was his creative outlet, but mostly a way to nurture those he cared for, both literally and figuratively.

Dan had a strong yet gentle character. He was a steady presence that made those around him feel safe. They naturally leaned into the security they felt in his firm hugs and the attentive ways in which he engaged them.

Honorable in how he moved through life, Dan navigated on his own cultivated principles and values, all of which would challenge the most pious among us. We will miss his kindness, his wry smile, and the softness in his gaze that let you know he really saw you. He deserves the most beautiful reception of all-encompassing love and unending peace, a great feast of all the cuisines he enjoyed throughout his years, and extra credit for the lives he saved and those he bettered.

At his request, no public memorial service will be held.

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