Just 56. And now she is gone.
Dawn-Coe Jones lost her life to Cancer on Saturday. The news spread quickly through the golf community. The hurried pace mirrored the rate at which she gained friends throughout her life.
A three-time LPGA winner, Jones was a talented amateur and professional player who was more than happy to set that chapter of her life aside in 2008. Her family, including her son Jimmy, and her husband of the same name, were more valued to her than chasing another cut. People understood, but her departure was all too soon from the game, just as her passing was.
Many golf media members, like Bob Weeks, Ian Hutchinson, Lorne Rubenstein and Brad Ziemer, among others, became close to Coe-Jones and you should take the time to read their tributes (linked at their names).
My greatest adult recollection of Coe-Jones was her final Canadian appearance on the LPGA, the 2008 CP Women’s Open at Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club.
It was a big week for the Canadian golf star, not because of her play as she missed the cut, but because her home country meant so much to her and more importantly that week, her B.C. pal and former LPGA roommate, Lisa Walters, was being inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame at the event. She was overjoyed to be there to welcome her as a fellow member. It was quite an evening of laughs and camaraderie.
That said a lot about Coe-Jones. Despite her 3 LPGA Tour wins, her 44 top ten finishes, and more than $3 million in LPGA earnings, she rarely focussed on herself.
Dozens of her peers can tell tales about how she looked out for them, guided them, and made them feel welcome in the inner circles and vagabond life of the tour.
As a teen growing up in B.C. in the 1980’s it was hard for me to ignore the accomplishments of Coe-Jones along with west coast girls Walters and Gail Graham, all LPGA winners. They served as inspiration for many golfers following behind them, including many futures pros like Jennifer Wyatt and A.J. Eathorne.
When I brought that subject up to Coe-Jones at the CP Women’s Open at Royal Ottawa Golf Club in 2000, she eschewed her role in the careers of others and simply said, “You should do what you love.”
As I think of it now, I realize that Dawn Coe-Jones knew that better than most. It was how she lived her life, be it on or off the golf course.
And, this past summer, life seemed to come full circle as we witnessed another Jones roam the fairways at Royal Ottawa Golf Club. This time, her son Jimmy, now 20, playing in the Canadian Men’s Amateur.
While his mother could not be there as she dealt with her health issues, there was no doubt that her influence was. I expect you will see that for a long, long, time; in her family and in the many lives she touched during her all too short time on this earth.
She will be missed.
/ Scott MacLeod @Flagstick