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Proctor Jones: Memories of a Friend

By J. David Markham

Proctor & Markham

On Good Friday of 1999, I - we - lost a good friend. Proctor Jones and I first met many years ago in Europe, visiting some historical sites associated with the man who has brought so many of us together. Our mutual love of all things Napoleonic led to a wonderful friendship that will be with me forever.

Proctor was a one-of-a-kind person. That cliché is often overused, but not here. His intellect and creativity gave us one of the best books combining Napoleonic art and history that we will ever see, Napoleon: An Intimate Account of the Years of Supremacy. His recent translations of Fain and Marchand, along with his academic articles, are major contributions to the scholarly world.

Proctor and I served together in various positions in Napoleonic organizations. He always set an example for integrity and clarity of purpose that helped guide us all in the right direction. He served as an outstanding example of the need to stand up for your beliefs, and be willing to take the abuse and risks that might result from your action. His contributions to the International Napoleonic Society have helped make it the fine organization it is.

What I remember most about Proctor, however, was how much fun he was to be with. He was kind, generous and witty. The chance to see him and his wonderful wife, Martha, was always one of the highlights of any conference. He never lacked for a smile, a joke, or an encouraging word. He was quick to both offer constructive suggestions and to lavish praise. His energy and zest for life was boundless and infectious, touching all around him. His generosity in helping students, or arranging tours of Versailles and elsewhere, has enriched the lives of many, including my wife Barbara and I.

I was able to talk to Proctor one last time, just a few days before he died. I am most grateful for that opportunity and will never forget it. I will remember Proctor, however, for all of the good times we had together. He was as wonderful a human being as I will ever meet, and I will miss him dearly. My life, like so many others, has been greatly enriched for having known him. Rest in Peace, Proctor.




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