Jewel Towner

Jewel Towner (Mary Jewel Wright) passed away on Oct. 10, 2012. Jewel, Mary Jewel, Judy, Aunt Judy, Mama Jewel, MJ, Mom, Grammy … many names for one woman with so many talents who touched so many lives.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the H.K. Holland Memorial Chapel in Ridgecrest. Visitation preceding the service will start at 9 a.m. Graveside services will be held on Friday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m. at Desert Lawn Memorial Park, 1415 S. First Ave, Yuma, Ariz. Visitation will precede the service at 10 a.m. in the Visitation Room at Johnson’s Mortuary (same location).

Jewel was born on Feb. 2, 1926, in Lordsburg, N.M., to Vernon and Bertha Wright. The family headed west when Jewel was a small child, making a home in Yuma.

Family was always important to Jewel, and she grew up surrounded by her parents, sister Dee and cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends who became part of this great extended family.

It was during her early years in Yuma that Jewel blossomed as a gifted musician, becoming accomplished on a host of instruments and distinguishing herself as a remarkable pianist and organist; however, she would not rest on those talents alone, going on to receive her master’s degree in keyboards from the University of Southern California.

She was in demand as a performer and accompanist for radio, for television, and in live performance, but always saw her music as a ministry, each note speaking more eloquently than words of her personal relationship with her Savior, Jesus Christ. One of her fondest musical memories was playing “I’d Rather Have Jesus” from George Beverly Shea’s handwritten manuscript the first time he sang the song with the Billy Graham Crusade.

Jewel married Floyd Towner on July 3, 1964. After making their early home in Southern California, they came to Ridgecrest in 1970, staying to raise two daughters, enjoy two grandchildren and create a loving and happy home.

Throughout her life, Jewel never missed an opportunity for a “teachable moment,” whether the lessons to be imparted were in faith, music, cooking or life.

She was fearless in defending her beliefs, selfless in caring for others and unyielding in her love for her family.

Jewel is survived by Floyd, her husband of 48 years; daughters Sharon Towner and Janice McGarry; grandchildren Connor and Alexis McGarry; sister Dee Friesen, and niece and nephew Kristy and Doug Friesen.

Jewel was a breast cancer survivor. If friends so desire, memorial contributions may be made to Loma Linda University Medical Center for Breast Cancer Research in honor of Jewel Towner.

Submitted by the famiy of Jewel Towner

Story First Published: 2012-10-17