Spirit of Women National

SUM 2016

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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1 5 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m S U M M E R 2 016 S P I R I T O F W O M E N Diabetes took the life of her grandfather at age 54. Her beloved father subsequently died of lung cancer at 49. "After my father died, my mother drank herself to death," says Jones. "She was told to not drink anymore because her kidneys were going bad, [but] she didn't give it up. She had bottles hidden in her underwear drawer. It's tough on an only child to lose both parents at such a young age." In addition, Jack Cassidy suffered from alcoholism— a disease that wreaked havoc on their home life and contributed significantly to his death in 1976. Jones is a firm believer in each person's need to take responsibility for his or her own actions. "There's not much you can do to help an addict unless they decide to take care of themselves," she says. "Something tragic may have to happen to give them the knowledge that 'I have to give this up: My wife left me, my children hate me, my mother doesn't want to be with me anymore.'" LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING Jones may have shocked friends and fans with her decision to marry madcap comedian Marty Ingels in 1977; nevertheless, Ingels continued to surprise her with unexpected romantic gestures throughout their 38-year marriage. But most important: "Marty made me laugh every day," she says. Today, Jones is entering yet another challenging phase—life without her husband. Ingels passed away unexpectedly in October 2015. But Jones credits her late husband's exquisite sense of humor and his larger-than-life personality for bringing out the best in her. Life is good "as long as you laugh a lot along the way," she believes. "Laughter truly is the best medicine." • PHOTO Y CHRISTINA GANDOLFO T he life story of actress and singer Shirley Jones reads like the plot of a movie. Girl meets Boy. Girl's career eclipses Boy's career. Girl loses Boy. And the requisite happy ending? Girl accepts what she cannot change, perseveres and lives a regret-free life. In this case, the "boy" was her first husband, entertainer Jack Cassidy, whom Jones was married to from 1956 to 1974. Their often tumultuous marriage produced three sons—Shaun, Patrick and Ryan— and added a treasured stepson to Jones' family tree: her "Partridge Family" television show co-star David Cassidy, Jack's son from his first marriage. Despite life's unavoidable challenges, 82-year-old Jones—who still performs regularly—remains a positive reflection of the various people who have crossed her path. Jones says she has always maintained her priorities and remained objective. Career-wise, "if it didn't happen, it didn't happen," she says. "As much as I loved my career, my family came first." FOCUSING ON HEALTH Jones lives her life with a refreshingly simple focus: "I just work at being the very best 'Shirley Jones' I can be," she says, a goal that's reflected in her lifelong focus on healthy living. "I was the youngest member of the church choir at age 6. I had a huge voice," she recalls. "I knew I wanted to sing. In order to do that, I knew I had to take care of myself. "I've always been involved in some kind of sport," she adds. "Horseback riding. Softball. Skiing. I have always been active in some way." An advocate for the importance of hydration and sleep, Jones says her ability to sing is directly linked to her continued good health. "Every morning I have a huge glass of water the moment I get out of bed. I am a big water drinker," she says. Her best advice for sticking to a healthy lifestyle? "Just keeping going. I'm 82 years old and try to go to the gym three days a week. Many days I would rather lie in my bed and watch Turner Classic Movies or read an old book, but I don't let myself do that. I think it's important to keep your body moving," she says. ADDICTION, LOSS AND REDEMPTION Jones' personal focus on health and longevity is likely related to her exposure to a staggering amount of addiction and loss—as well as a fervent desire to triumph over genetics. A star turn Plucked from obscurity by fate, with a helping hand from Broadway musical giants Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Shirley Jones and her vocal talent hit the fast track when she was still a teenager. With the theatrical release of the movie "Oklahoma!" in 1955, Jones' star status was established in record time. Her flm and television resume also includes Julie in "Carousel," Marian the Librarian in "The Music Man," her Oscar-winning turn as prostitute Lulu Baines in 1960's "Elmer Gantry," and pop culture icon/spirited TV sitcom mom Shirley Partridge in the 1970s. For more on Shirley Jones, read "Shirley Jones, A Memoir" (Gallery Books, 2013).

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