Lona Lucille Morris Jupiter was born November 29, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Mary Helen Welch Morris and Earl Morris. She passed away on August 30, a few months shy of her 90th birthday. Reared in Madison, Wisconsin, Lona was a proud graduate from the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism in 1956. After graduation she worked for a year and a half on the Post-Bulletin newspaper in Rochester, Minnesota, as a reporter and feature writer. She spent the summer of 1958 in Europe and earned a certificate in International Institutions from the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
In January 1959 Lona moved to San Francisco and worked for U.S. News and World Report until November 1960, when she joined Bank of America’s Public Relations Department as a banking services officer. Somehow this Midwesterner met Harry Jupiter, a New Yorker, in San Francisco and they married in 1966. At the time he was a sportswriter on the San Francisco Examiner covering the San Francisco Giants. Later he worked for the San Francisco Chronicle and for the Golden State Warriors.
Both were extremely talented at their craft and shared a sardonic sense of humor, which made them popular guests and hosts at many soirees. In 1970 Lona moved to Wells Fargo Bank and worked in the Economics Department editing economic reports and researching executive speeches. Her job later was moved to the Public Relations Department, which she took over as vice president and manager in 1983, with major responsibilities in preparing the company’s annual report and executive speech writing. Two years later she formed the Corporate Communications Division of five departments specializing in communications and customer relations, and was named a Senior Vice President. She retired from Wells Fargo in 1988. She then became an executive speech writer at Bank of America where she had a talent for writing speeches styled in the way the person actually spoke.
Lona was a funny lady, and she had many stories about her days in PR having to run copies of press releases around town to get approvals. This was especially relevant when handling the announcement of Wells Fargo’s acquisition of Crocker Bank, a big, big deal at the time. After getting all the approvals around midnight, she phoned a news service and persuaded someone to get out of bed and put the announcement on the wire – an example of her persuasive abilities.
During her tenure at Wells Fargo, she served on the bank’s Corporate Responsibility Committee, and participated in the Aspen Institute’s seminar on Corporate Responsibility. She also served on the board of the Wells Fargo Foundation, and on the Wells Fargo team for President Ronald Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, also known as the “War on Waste.”
Active in local charities and nonprofit organizations, Lona served on the boards of the United Way of the Bay Area, the Salvation Army Harbor Lights alcoholic rehabilitation facility, and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC).
She was the first female member of the San Francisco Public Relations Round Table (SFPRRT), an organization for senior PR practitioners, and a former chairperson. Says Beverly Butler Rose, a fellow member of SFPRRT, “She was a class act and will be missed.”
Lona’s droll humor and Midwestern sensibility were always on cue, adds Larry Miller, an SFPRRT colleague. “At my first visit to an SFPRRT luncheon, everyone was asked to stand and introduce themselves and everyone dutifully did. But then a woman I didn’t know stood up and said, ‘I’m Lona Jupiter, 49.’ Everybody laughed. It turns out that was her way of letting the Chronicle know she wasn’t happy about them including her age in an appointment story in that day’s paper. There just wasn’t anyone else like Lona Jupiter.”
Predeceased by her husband, parents and beloved sister, Jean Ann Morris, Lona is survived by many dear cousins and a diminishing handful of close friends.
A Celebration of Lona’s life will be held on September 20, 2023, from 2 – 4 pm at Original Joe’s, 601 Union Street, San Francisco.
Please consider a donation in Lona’s memory to Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, an organization very dear to her heart, at 201 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.