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Miner had one last dinner with family

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the West Virginia miners killed in last week's explosion, Easter dinner was the final time they would spend with relatives.

For Dean Jones, it wasn't his last taste of his mother-in-law's cooking.

Alice Peters said Jones loved deviled eggs in particular, and she fixed a tray of them on April 4. But she forgot to put the eggs on the dinner table. So after dinner, she summoned Jones' 13-year-old son, Kyle, to go to the front porch to let his dad know that the eggs were available.

"He said he would take them home with him,'' Peters said.

The next day, Jones was among the 29 workers killed in a mid-afternoon explosion at the Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine.

Peters would spend the next several days watching her grandson at Jones' home in Beckley while her daughter, Gina, awaited word on her 47-year-old husband with other grief-stricken families at the mine site.

While at the house, Peters remembered to check Jones' refrigerator to see if her son-in-law had enjoyed the eggs before going to work the next day.

"He had eaten some of them,'' Peters said. "He just loved to eat.''

The family did more than just break bread together.

After Dean and Gina Jones were married about 16 years ago, he promised Peters he'd take swimming lessons if she would join him.

"Dean didn't know how to swim,'' said Peters, who had taken lessons with her two daughters when they were growing up.

Having the opportunity to learn how to swim "tickled him to death,'' Peters said.

After that, the family would put those lessons to use on annual vacations to Daytona Beach, Fla., she said.

 


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