Sara Wells Jones, 94, founder of the Seattle Religious Art Society and mother of composer, arranger and music impresario Quincy Jones. Jones was born in Vicksburg, Miss., one of 10 children of Mary Bell and Love Adam Wells, a sharecropper. After attending Boston University's College of Practical Arts and Sciences, she moved to Chicago in the 1930s and became a founding board member of the Federal Savings and Loan Corp., a black-owned bank. There she met a young carpenter named Quincy Jones and had two children: Lloyd, a pioneer African American radio and television engineer in Seattle, and Quincy Jr., who along with being a noted jazz musician produced such hits as "Thriller" and "We Are the World." In 1943, Jones moved to Seattle, where she founded the Seattle Religious Art Society, which sponsored concerts and offered educational opportunities for youths. She was a pianist, spoke several languages and was a master typist and stenographer, once typing the entire New Testament as a gift to her children. In addition to Quincy Jr., she is survived by a sister, Mabel Dulaney; another son, George Ferris; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. In Seattle of a stroke on Jan. 22.
Rev. Walter Donald Kring; Unitarian Minister, Melville Expert
The Rev. Walter Donald Kring, 82, a clergyman who became an expert on author Herman Melville. Born in Lakewood, Ohio, Kring graduated from Occidental College and Harvard Divinity School and was a Navy chaplain during World War II. He led All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City for 23 years, and the Eliot Church in Natick, N.Y., for 20 years. Kring wrote histories and biographies, including a three-volume work about All Souls, founded in 1819, and the books "Henry Whitney Bellows" and "Herman Melville's Religious Journey." While researching Bellows, the 19th century pastor of All Souls, Kring came across letters that confirmed rumors that Melville was a wife beater and child abuser. The discovery prompted Kring to continue research into Melville, and in 1979 he was elected the first nonacademic president of the Melville Society. Kring also served as president of the Beacon Press of Boston, secretary of the American Unitarian Assn. and president of the Harvard Divinity School Alumni Assn. and the Unitarian-Universalist Historical Society. On Jan. 15 in East Brookfield, Mass.
Philip Mason; British Historian, Biographer
Philip Mason, 92, British historian and biographer. Mason was a former British civil servant in India whose two-volume work "The Men Who Ruled India," published in 1953, established him as a leading British-Indian historian. A graduate of Oxford University, Mason was posted to India by the British government in 1928 and served in various positions, including deputy-secretary and joint secretary to the government, over the next 20 years. After he returned to Britain, he wrote almost a book a year until 1962. Among his later books was a 1975 biography of Rudyard Kipling, "Kipling: The Glass, the Shadow and the Fire," praised in The Times for its eloquence and complex understanding of the writer's character. In Cambridge, England, on Monday.