Preston St. Vrain Jones was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 7, 1936. His father, a former lieutenant governor of New Mexico, had been a professional military man who at one time had hoped for a career writing Western novels. Jones grew up in New Mexico, attending a Catholic boarding school for boys for a short time before he was graduated from high school in Albuquerque. After a brief period of military service, Jones entered the University of New Mexico, from which he received a bachelor of science degree in speech in 1960. He taught one semester in a high school in Tucumcari, New Mexico, before returning to the University of New Mexico to study drama for a year. During this period, he also spent some time working with the State Highway Department in and around Colorado City, Texas, which later became the model for Bradleyville, Texas, the setting of A Texas Trilogy.
In 1961, Jones enrolled in the drama department of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he studied with Paul Baker, nationally known as an innovative force in Southwestern theater. Baker quickly became, and remained, a major influence on Jones’s life and career; he asked Jones to join the Dallas Theater Center, where Jones continued his studies and worked with the theater’s professional company. While there, he married Mary Sue Birkhead, an actress and designer and then assistant director of the Dallas Theater Center. In 1963, the Dallas Theater Center transferred its academic affiliation from Baylor to Trinity...
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