Becky Jones balances life, work, play

Downtime Becky Jones 01BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Becky Jones, co-owner and director of Eugene-based Seneca Family of Companies, runs the business with her two younger sisters, Kathy and Jody.

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Becky Jones, co-owner and director of Eugene-based Seneca Family of Companies, runs the business with her two younger sisters, Kathy and Jody. Their father, Aaron Jones, founded the Seneca Sawmill in 1954. In its first year, the mill employed 25 people. Today the company has grown to 400 employees working in three locations, and produces more than 650 million board feet of lumber annually. Becky, 63, lives in Bend with her partner, Kris Olsen — “we’re not legally married, but we’ve been together for 24 years,” she says — and their dog, Josie.

“I’m an introvert-extrovert. My sisters and I, we’re all introverts. We can be by ourselves for long periods of time and be totally happy. But when we’re around people, they would swear we’re extroverts because we all talk loud, we are real outgoing, real fun, laugh a lot, have wonderful times with people. To my sisters, I’m the balance between the two of them. If Kathy and Jody have any problems, or anything like that, I’m just the balanced person.”

“I motivate myself. Well, in the morning [Josie] wakes me up, and I jump out of bed and we go for a walk. But the thing that motivates me when I’m down or depressed or sick is myself. I give myself an idea of something I would just love to do more than anything in the world, and would I be able to do that right then? Chances are that I always can — so I just motivate myself, and I do it really easy. I’ve done that my whole life.”

“I do things real passionately. I was a fanatic gardener — I’ve got gardening books everywhere. And before that, I was nuts about fly-fishing and tying flies. Before that, I snow skied for about 15 years constantly but was never excellent at it by any means. But right now, the one passion that’s held me the longest and probably always will is photography, and I’m a Nikon girl.”

“I’ve traveled to a lot of places, but Africa is my favorite because of the wild animals and the beauty of it, with its great big, open plains. The people who run the lodges or the tent camps — they’re just so hospitable, and the guides are so knowledgeable. And the food there is amazing! You learn so much when you travel. You’re not just going and taking pictures — you learn so much about the cultures, the politics … so many of those things that are involved. It’s just fascinating.”

“People should not be so critical of themselves and expect so much out of themselves. I think people need to slow down and just enjoy their lives more, or just enjoy life itself more. Sometimes you just miss enjoying your day, and I just think that’s so important. I do not want to live to my eighties — yuck! In 10 years, I would like to just be looking back at my life with a big smile on my face, knowing that it was well-lived.”