Henry F. Fones Inventor, ex-Marine

May 14, 1994

Henry F. Fones, who stormed ashore with the 4th Marine Division at Iwo Jima and Saipan during World War II and went on to make his mark as an inventor, died April 28 of complications from a broken hip at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Baltimore. He was 76.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was 16 and received a deferment to attend Georgetown University, where he met Lena Wyatt, a secretary at the university. They were married in 1937. She died in 1984.

He received orders to report for duty in the days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was sent to the South Pacific.

"He injured his foot over there," said a daughter, Elizabeth L. Heiland of Lauderhill, Fla. "But, like everything else having to do with the war, he never talked about it. He was very proud of his association with the Marine Corps, but he was not one to describe what he went through in all of those places."

After his discharge, Mr. Fones was an engineer for Purex Co. before leaving in 1972 to start a company, Covington Manufacturing, with a Purex co-worker. The two men designed, built and sold the Covco Die Washer, a device that automatically cleans the stamping head on letterpress machines used to mark cardboard boxes.

"Before they came along, the equipment used to get all gummed up with dried ink that had to be chipped off," Mrs. Heiland said. "Dad and his partner solved the problem and turned it into a pretty good business."

Survivors include another daughter, Nancy L. Bellis of Catonsville; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Services were held May 3.

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