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"Trail Blazers" | Reviewed by Bill Schwab

What do the Katy Trail, Confluence Point State Park, a Fortune 500 company, Prairie Fork and Young Conservation Areas have in common? The answer lies in “Trail Blazers” a tribute to Pat and Ted Jones written by Jeanette Cooperman.

This double biography recounts the lives of an entrepreneur who grew his father's financial services firm into Edward Jones, an investment company comprised of 15,000 offices across the U.S. and Canada, and of his wife, Pat, an avid advocate for the natural world.

Instead of choosing to live in a big city with all its amenities, the wealthy Jones couple moved to a farm in Callaway County in mid-Missouri where they lived simply. They transformed their depleted farmland into 700 acres of trees and prairie comprised of Missouri native plants characteristic of its vegetation in the 1840s before the land was first disturbed. Preserving the natural beauty of Missouri for future generations was their goal. Pat Jones liked to say, “We didn't have any children, so we just adopted the state.”

The book tells how they used their wealth to save, restore and then donate vast areas of natural beauty to both the University of Missouri and the state of Missouri so the public could enjoy it far into the future.

This love story of the couple for each other and for the land promises to lift the spirit of anyone who reads this thoughtful account. “Trail Blazer” depicts Ted’s business acumen and Pat's passion for conservation. Magnificent Missouri is the publisher of the 303-page biography.

Dan Burkhardt, Founder of Magnificent Missouri, will make a presentation on “Trail Blazers” at a Friends of the Library Speaker Series event, Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Public Library. Neighborhood Reads has the book available in the bookstore and will have copies at the event. All are invited.

About the Author: Burkhardt is the author of five other books. Cooperman is a journalist, editor and member of the Saint Louis Media Hall of Fame. Cooperman was a staff writer at “Saint Louis Magazine” for 12 years and currently is a regular contributor to the “Common Reader,” a journal of the essay based at Washington University.

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