By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
It is with shock and heartfelt sadness we say goodbye to Melinda (Fixx) Jones, who passed away suddenly over the weekend. Some in the community may not know her name, but regular AZBEX readers know her work: For the past several months she has been writing planning and development pieces for us under the byline of Jane Stewart.
Melinda-Jane, as she was known around our office, leaves behind a husband, young son, other family members, friends and a cadre of professional associates who will now have to carry on without her talent, work ethic, dedication, expertise and gentle humor.
She had worked in Arizona A/E/C for many years, with some of the best – and best known – firms in the state. At the time of her passing she was Sr. Marketing Coordinator at Cardno.
As her editor, I can honestly say Melinda-Jane was one of the most thorough and talented reporters it has ever been my honor and pleasure to work with. Her stories were well-detailed, but engaging, and she always put in the extra effort to get those subtle background details to answer readers’ questions before they arise, whether they were about the history and background of a location, the subtleties of a zoning change or how a proposed development would fit into its existing surroundings.
As the first stringer/freelance correspondent we brought on, she set a standard for all to follow – and even our fulltime staff – with her unflinching ethics and commitment to accuracy. She may have been green as a reporter when she first came aboard, but there was no suggestion she didn’t take, no detail she wouldn’t follow up on and no deadline she wouldn’t meet once she committed to a story.
On the personal side, I deeply enjoyed our many exchanges about both work and life. She was quick with a gently sarcastic comment or insightful observation that made hectic days and high-pressure deadlines easier to cope with. She also was an inspiration in the way she balanced her career, her family life and her side job working for us. When my own life’s demands felt overly pressing, I could always point out to myself how many things she kept on her plate with apparent grace and how she was always available to cheerfully take a call or reply to a message.
Words cannot adequately express the depth of our sympathy for her husband and son, family, friends and colleagues. She was an exceptional person and dedicated professional. She was also a reporter’s reporter, which is the highest praise editors can bestow on our writers.
AZBEX and Arizona A/E/C have lost an invaluable member of our family. We dedicate this issue and the rest of our 2018 coverage to her memory and contributions.
Put away your notebook and rest well, my friend.