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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Remembering Carleton Jones

The death of Carleton Jones came as a shock to me.

Yes, I know he had been ill for sometime, but every time I saw him he was upbeat and cheerful.

I can’t speak from first hand knowledge about what kind of businessman Carleton was, though I can point to the success he had at Sysorex, Vanstar and Multimax as proof that he was a top tier leader in this market.

Here is what I do know: It was hard not to like Carleton. When you saw him at an event he often acted like he couldn’t be happier to see to you. And I know he didn’t do this just with me, because I saw him greet countless people this way over the years.

Carleton knew how to connect with you, to make you feel like you were the one person he really wanted to talk to, even if you only had a few moments with him at a cocktail reception.

For a reporter, Carleton was a great source. His knowledge of the market was broad and his insights got to the real story behind the headlines. Over the years, I talked to him about mergers and acquisitions, contracting opportunities, government operations and leadership skills.

I feel fortunate to have shared many lunches and dinners with Carleton. I always came away feeling a little smarter. And I always came away smiling.

The last time I saw Carleton he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “We need to have lunch. Forget business. We’ll just have fun.”

We promised to make arrangements. I regret we never did.

The last time I spoke with him was about two months ago and he was at John Hopkins for an appointment. When he told me where he was, I tried to get off the phone but he said no, let’s talk.

We did for about five minutes. I wished him luck and he just shrugged it off. Again, he was upbeat. He never wanted sympathy.

A lot of people will miss Carleton Jones. One of my colleagues said it best this morning: “What a sweet guy.”

Yes, what a sweet guy.

I invite you to share you remembrances in our comment field below.

A funeral service will be conducted noon, Monday, at the National Cathedral in Washington. The family is asking that memorial donations be made to Colorectal Cancer Research at Johns Hopkins, 100 N. Charles St., Suite 234, Baltimore, MD 21201 or to The Washington National Cathedral.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM


Reader Comments

Thu, May 19, 2011 Ted Milone INDUS Corporation

Carleton demanded in business nothing more than what is required for success in life – the necessary energy, attention, and activity that moves us “beyond-where-we-are-now”. But, most of all, energy… I’m sure Carleton would agree: what’s all this for if it not for creating VIGOR? Carleton rightfully deserves the respect afforded to him, because of the energy he brought to the situation, business or social.

Thu, May 19, 2011 Alan Balutis Washington, D.C.

Sad to hear the news about Carleton's passing. A successful IT executive, a wonderful conversationalist, a mentor to many, an industry contributor, and so much more. We have lost some true giants in our community of late. Thanks for this lovely tribute to a lovely gentleman, Nick.

Thu, May 19, 2011 Bob Woods Vienna, VA

Having worked with Carleton on a number of working and planning groups, he added an essential ingredient--he couldn't stand boring. He didn't like boring speakers, boring programs or boring subjects. I felt like were 2 bad children in the back of the classroom when we did things together. His eye for detail, his playfulness, and his intellect made him a great teammate and friend. All that knew him were changed for the better.

Thu, May 19, 2011 Linda Allan

Nick, As always, your words ring true to those of us who were privileged to work with and truly got to know Carleton. He was both the professional and the professor of our industry. Carleton "gave back" to his professional and personal friends in ways too numerous to mention. He will be remembered and missed by us all. See you in heaven's hallways Carleton... Linda

Thu, May 19, 2011 Jeff Vigne Exeter


Carleton, you were my friend and mentor. I will greatly miss your wisdom and optimistic outlook on life. You were a giant in our industry and all that knew you were privileged. Rest easy dear friend – your pals will be at the bar remembering you for the rest of our days. We will say goodbye to you at the National Cathedral this Monday – I will make sure to ask if the attendees list and slides will be posted afterwards.

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