Actions by the Pleasanton City Council have wrapped up final affairs for Jean Jones, who died last year in her home at 309 Neal St. where she had lived since 1932 and wanted it preserved as a city historical site.
The house, still filled with many of her lifelong furnishings, including a rusting car in front of a deteriorating backyard garage, was given to the city, a gift that came as a total surprise when her will was read after her death in January 2015.
In another surprise, Ms. Jones designated local attorney Peter MacDonald as trustee of her estate, who said he had befriended the woman but barely knew her.
As the beneficiary of Ms. Jones' entire estate, the city could receive assets in the range of $1.3 million when the house is sold.
Ms. Jones stipulated, however, that she wanted the house and property to be used as a public museum, much like the Museum on Main that is part of the Amador-Livermore Valley Historical Society. That put the city in a bind with the city, the Museum on Main nor Ms. Jones' neighbors on Neal Street wanting another museum, especially not on a street in Old Town Pleasanton.
Tuesday's action ended the city-assigned work by MacDonald to satisfy the will's stipulations. A commemorative plaque will be installed at the home, detailing its history. Whoever buys the house will have to follow the guidelines of other owners in the historic neighborhood by preserving the front facade of the home.
Also, an endowment will be set up with the Museum on Main with the assets from Ms. Jones' estate, including proceeds from the sale of the home and including the direction that Ms. Jones be acknowledged at the downtown museum. The endowment will be kept by the city with its funds to be used only by co-agreement between the city and the museum.
Jean Jones was a graduate of Amador Valley High School, where she met her future husband Bud Jones. She had a successful career as an engineer at Pacific Bell. She and Bud, also now deceased, enjoyed their years in Pleasanton.
Civic leaders said that giving back to the city the Jnes' loved was a selfless act well deserving of the lasting tribute the City Council has given them in return.