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Journalist, publisher and editor, Kenneth J. (Ken) Jones, died suddenly at his home in Caimito, Capira, on Friday, July 31 at the age of 82.
Ken began his career as a journalist in his country of origin, England. As a young man he travelled to Canada, and from there made his way through the United States and Central America to Panama, where, in the late 1950s, he worked on the English-language editions of “The Panama America” and “The Star & Herald.”
Leaving Panama for Jamaica, he founded the tourist guide magazine, “Focus on Jamaica,” the weekly tourist newspaper, “The Visitor,” and the Montego Bay newspaper, “The Beacon.”
Ken returned to Panama in 1970 at the invitation of the Panamanian government tourism authorities, headed by Rogelio “Pinky” Arias, who wanted a quality tourist guide to support the emerging tourism industry. That magazine was “Focus on Panama.” He later founded the “F.O.B Colon Free Zone” directory, “The Visitor” newspaper and “The Bulletin” maritime newspaper under the umbrella of Focus Publishing Group. All of the publications were dedicated to promoting Panama’s culture and business worldwide. He also published the much-sought-after book, “Tiempos de Agonía” (“The Enemy Within” in English), with editorial and pictorial coverage of the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama and other publications printed in limited editions such as “Panama Now.”
He was a wordsmith of the highest order, adapting to the tremendous changes in the publishing business through the course of a career which spanned nearly seven decades.
A Catholic mass will be held at the Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Merced in Casco Antiguo on Tuesday, August 11 at 11 a.m. Anyone wishing to pay their respects is invited to attend. The church is located on Calle 10ma Oeste in San Felipe facing the Casa de la Municipalidad and the American Trade Hotel.
Ken was an avid pilot in his younger days, flying his single engine Cessna 175, family aboard, to many remote airstrips, getting to know Panama as few people ever do.
He is survived by his wife Bobbie, daughters Janis and Felicity and son Jonathan, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
He will be sadly missed by his staff as a generous and fair employer and a man of innovative ideas.