Linda Kay Jones, CEcD, FM, a leader in New Mexico economic development and international women’s advancement, died September 2, 2015 in Albuquerque after several years-long battle with cancer.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, September 12 at 1:00 p.m. at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 601 Montano Road N.W. in Albuquerque.
A scholarship fund at Western New Mexico University has been established in her name. Donations to the scholarship fund are requested in lieu of flowers, and may be sent to: Linda Kay Jones Memorial Scholarship, Western New Mexico University Foundation, P.O. Box 1158, Silver City, NM 88062.
Linda Kay provided leadership, innovation and unmatched growth to the Silver City/Grant County community since 1984. From 2008-2012, Jones served as the vice president for institutional advancement, economic development, and community affairs at Western New Mexico University (WNMU). At the time of her death, she was the special assistant to the WNMU president for strategic initiatives. She performed these duties while recovering from surgery and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
Linda Kay served as director of the Silver City Chamber of Commerce (1984-1989) and as executive director of the Silver City – Grant County Economic Development Corporation (SIGRED) (1984-2005). She was one of the primary drivers behind Silver City’s designation as an Arts and Cultural District and in establishing Silver City’s reputation as an arts, as well as a retirement, destination. In 1999 to support her interest in building international economic development opportunities for New Mexico she pursued the development of and secured the initial funding for the Besse-Forward Global Resource Center facility on the WNMU campus.
She began working with WNMU in 1989 when she brought the Small Business Development Center under WNMU. In 2005 she was instrumental in the establishment of the International Business Accelerator (IBA) which works with New Mexico entrepreneurs interested in international trade opportunities.
As director of the nationally accredited economic development course offered at WNMU from 1993 until her death, Jones expanded the New Mexico course to oversee its offering in several cities in Mexico. At the time of her death she was working with leaders of economic development in Mexico, Ghana, and Morocco to further expand these efforts in her role as president of the International Academy for Economic Development (IAED).
Linda Kay was twice selected as the state's Economic Developer of the Year and in 2013 was named a Fellow Member (FM) of the International Economic Development Council, an honor reserved for those who have attained unusual stature in the practice of economic development.
Jones was an active member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), serving as president for the New Mexico Women's Forum from 2011-2013. She traveled globally with other pre-eminent IWF members to advance women's leadership across careers, cultures and continents.
Jones served as Executive Recruiter for Dunhill Personnel Service from 1974-1980 before starting TransSearch, Inc. a successful executive recruitment organization which she led from 1980 – 1984. From 2005 until her death she was also co-owner of Pamela Worley, LLC, an upscale furniture manufacturing business.
Linda Kay was born in Lockhart, Texas in 1942. She lived in Texas until moving to Silver City in 1984. She is survived by her husband, John Paul Jones; children Pamela Thoreson, Susan Zimmerman, Jack Worley, Jill Worley and Janice Worley; grandchildren Lauren, Jacklyn, Bryan, Zachary, Taylor, Katelyn, Robert and Jordon; four great-grandchildren; and siblings Mark Boles, Jim Harber and Melanie Richey. She was preceded in death by her parents, William Boles and Dorothy Skarda, and her stepfather, Cash Skarda.