Philip R. Jonsson, of Dallas, TX and Little Rock, AR, passed away peacefully on April 22, 2020 at his home in Little Rock at the age of 95.
Philip was the son of Erik Jonsson and Margaret Fonde Jonsson of Dallas and loving husband of Diane Yost Jonsson. He is survived by Diane, and his daughters Christina, Suzanne and Eileen “Petie” (Bryan), his son Steve (Kathleen), and his sister, Margaret Jonsson Rogers. He was predeceased by his parents, his son, Kenny, and his brother Kenneth. Philip is also survived by his grandchildren Margaret, Henry, Andy, Dawson, Jay, Will and Oliver, by three great grandchildren, and by seven nieces and nephews.
Born in Englewood, New Jersey in 1924 Philip’s family moved to Dallas, Texas when he was 10. Philip went on to study Physics and Business at MIT and was called into the Army during World War II. Philip started out in the oil business in West Texas in the ‘50s, founding Great Plains Land Company. He subsequently served as an investor and director of Citizens Bank and radio station KRLD in Dallas, which introduced him to a long career in broadcasting. He founded Signal Media in 1984 with stations in Tulsa and Little Rock, where he built The Point 94.1 and 103.7 The Buzz into heritage Classic Rock and Sports stations respectively. In 2011 Philip acquired KHLR which is now 106.7 The Ride. Philip also helped create and published the illustrated history series Adventure Tales of America.
Philip was a generous citizen philanthropist supporting numerous organizations in Texas and Arkansas for many years. He was past president of the Dallas Symphony Foundation board, served as a member of the board of managers of The School of American Research in Santa Fe, the board of visitors of the University of Texas at Dallas, past president and member of the board of The Arkansas Cancer Research Center Foundation (now the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute) and the boards of the Little Rock Symphony, and the University of Arkansas Foundation among many others.
Philip loved tennis, snow skiing, Native American art, reading history, spending time in the Holy Ghost Canyon of New Mexico, and traveling with his family.
Due to the current coronavirus crisis, a gathering for friends will be held at a later date, and interment in Dallas will be private.
Philip’s family wishes to especially thank Dr. Jeanne Wei, Stephen Havard and his longtime helper in Dallas, Olga Silva, who cared for Philip during his later years. They gratefully suggest that any memorial gifts be made to The Arkansas Food Bank.
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