Daisy Marquis Jones was born to Jacob and Rose Marquis in Pennsylvania in the late 1870’s and spent her childhood there. One of five children, she developed an interest in investing her money at an early age. In the early 1900’s she moved to Rochester and in the 1920’s lived on Wilmer Street off Monroe Avenue.
In the 1940’s she married J. Nelson Jones, who owned a dairy farm in Himrod, Yates County. She moved there to help him run Bellview Farms Dairy and developed a special interest in Yates County.
When Nelson died in the 1960’s, she donated the farm house to the community’s fledgling volunteer fire department and helped support their efforts to build a firehouse and purchase equipment. The Foundation continues to make significant grants to improve the quality of life in Yates County.
After her husband’s death, she returned to her home on Wilmer Street. An astute businesswoman, she had gained the admiration and respect of local bankers and brokers for her shrewd investment skills, but was little known in the community at large. She was a private person. She continued to live modestly, investing her money.
Childless, she had intended to leave the bulk of her estate to her nephew, Leo Marquis Lyons. He persuaded her to leave it to a charitable foundation instead, so together they established the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation three years before her death.
Leo, born in 1904, was the only child of Jacob and Phoebe Lyons. Like his Aunt Daisy, he was an astute businessman and wise investor. He was a builder of fine homes, following in his father’s footsteps, who built the family home near Daisy’s on Wilmer Street.
Leo was also a very private person. Although he never married, he loved children. He always said the Foundation was his baby, his child, and his legacy to the Rochester Community.
Known as the “heart” behind the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, he served as the chairman of the Board of Trustees from its inception in 1968 until his death in 1997, leaving the bulk of his estate to the Foundation as well.
The Foundation remains steadfast to Daisy and Leo’s dedication to strengthening our neighbors and our communities in the greater Rochester area.