Richard P. Jones was a lifelong resident of Lakeland. He was born in the city on June 2, 1921. He attended Lakeland's public schools and graduated from Lakeland High School in 1939. He entered the University of Florida in the fall of 1939 with the intention of studying Engineering.
His education was interrupted by service in the Navy Seabees in World War II. It was during his service with Seabees that Jones first developed an interest in architecture. The Seabees were a construction unit and Jones had the opportunity to design and build many structures during his three and a half years in the service. It was also during his time in the service that he married the former Alice Adams of Gainesville, Florida.
When he returned to the University of Florida after the war, Jones switched his major to Architecture and received a degree in that field in 1950. He immediately found a position with the firm of noted Lakeland architect Thomas B. Talley. He remained with Talley for eight years, before striking out on his own in 1958.
Jones was involved in two professional partnerships in the mid-1960's, but worked as a single practitioner with his office in Lakeland for the bulk of his professional career. During his long and distinguished career, Jones designed more than 200 structures in and around Lakeland, including private homes, public and private schools, churches, municipal buildings and commercial structures. He had a particular interest in remodeling and renovating private homes.
Jones was also very active in the political, cultural, and religious life of Lakeland. He served on the city's Historic Preservation Board and was elected to the City Commission in 1975 to complete the term of a City Commissioner who had resigned from office. He was a member of Lakeland's Little Theater and frequently appeared in its productions. He had an interest in music from an early age and sang in the choir at the First United Methodist Church for many years. He was also a member of the Lakeland Choral Society and sang in many of its performances.
Jones retired from the practice of architecture in 1986, but continued to remain active in the community for many years after his retirement. He died in Lakeland at the age of 81 on September 26, 2002.