Dr. John Robert Jones, 78, of Jackson, Tennessee and a native of Seaboard, North Carolina departed this earthly life on Tuesday, October 12, while in the serenity of his home. He was born on Saturday May 1, 1943 to the parentage of the late David Barrett and Dorothy Sue Jones Jordan.
As a young child he was nurtured by his maternal great grandmother Sue Jones who would always give him a piece of peppermint candy early in the afternoon. Soon after her passing, he was old enough to attend Coates Elementary School in Seaboard. Then his journey began. His grandmother, Mattie Jones Jackson, helped him to develop an interest in education by teaching him numbers by having him count chicken eggs and the number of chickens she had on the yard. His mother continued to expand his interest in the learning process by teaching him to read and write. She did this by having him write and send letters to his Aunt Gurney in Baltimore, MD; who in turned sent him a letter back with $1.00 in it.
As a single mother, Dorothy Jones provided for her son’s welfare and spiritual growth. Her love was enduring and never wavered. At the age of 11 years old, John accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and was baptized by Rev. Dr. C. C. Staton at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Seaboard. John was active in Sunday School Vacation Bible School, and the youth choir. Seaboard was a loving community and John had many cheerleaders as he was growing up. They included Mrs. Sallie Jordan, Aunt Lucy Cloyd, Mrs. Curleah Broadnax, and Mrs. Annie Calvert. His biggest cheerleader, mentor and best-friend outside of family members was George Branch, Sr.
After graduating from Gumberry High School in 1962, where he lettered in basketball and was the MVP his senior year, he headed west to Shaw University at the insisting of Dr. Melvin F. Broadnax and Rev. Dr. C. C. Staton, both graduates of Shaw University. John graduated from Shaw University in 1966 and headed further west to Nashville, TN, at the urging of his dear friend Sam Calvert, where he enrolled at Tennessee State University and graduated in 1967 with a Masters degree in Educational Guidance and Counseling. While in Nashville he met and married Aretha Hopson and to this union three sons were born.
Destined to continue westward he moved to Jefferson City, MO where he worked at Lincoln University and earned a doctorate of education degree from the University of Missouri. “Go west” was the call again and he moved to Stockton, CA to work at the University of the Pacific. There he endeared himself to the campus and community and received many awards and honors for his service including a commendation from State Senators John Geramendi and Senator Roberti and proclamations from San Jaoquin County and the City of Stockton, CA.
The Pacific Ocean stopped him from going further west so he turned back east and returned to Missouri taking a position at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO as the Director of Academic Assistance Program, Office of the Provost and Assistant Professor. After making his mark in the mid-west he came back east and took a position at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, VA as the Vice President for Student Affairs. From there he became the Director of Shaw University Center for Alternative Programs in Education (CAPE) in Ahoskie and Greenville, NC. The call to go west came again and he returned to Missouri where he became the University Director of Community Engagement at Central Missouri State University. After a brief but very successful tenure, he returned east, to his hometown of Seaboard.
Though he was “retired”, his career continued with community service on various boards and organizations and developing and supporting youth programs. He was an active and financial member of the Shaw University National Alumni Association, where he served as the president of the Weldon-Seaboard Shaw U Alumni Chapter for seven years. He also was an active member with the Tennessee State University National Alumni Association, and the University of Missouri National Alumni Association. He was a founding member of the Roanoke Valley HBCU Collaborative Association, Inc., a member of the NAACP and the AARP Ahoskie Chapter. He served on the Board of the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research, Inc from 2012 to 2019, and was appointed to the Board of the Northampton County Economic Development Commission where he served as the Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Board. He is a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. John’s love for education and the advancement of youth is evident by the awards and recognition from students, faculty and staff and community leaders. He believed that higher education was a critical piece for the advancement of our people and society.
John was an avid sports fan and his interest was instilled in his sons Jeffrey and Jason. Whether playing catch football at the home, fishing in a nearby lake, helping to construct a baseball field or simply making sure that his sons were the best in their athletic pursuits; he loved and supported them all the time. And this love has been passed down to his grandsons, Jordan and Jackson and his great-grandson, Drayden.
John was preceded in death by his step-father, Leonard Jordan, his son, Christopher Jones, and mother, Dorothy Jones Jordan. Precious memories of a life well lived will be cherished by: his sons Jeffrey of Jackson, TN (Teala) and Jason (Brenna) of Irvine, CA; his grandchildren, Kristopher Prince of Columbia,Missouri, Tearra Gates, Ashley Gates and Jordan Jones all of Atlanta, GA, Alexis Steeby of Brooklyn, NY and Jackson Jones of Irvine, CA; great-grandchildren, NaKayah Jones of Jefferson City, MO and Drayden Coleman of Atlanta, GA, sisters, Cathy (Otis) Allen of Jackson, NC, Minister Gwendolyn (Joe) Artis of Jonesboro, GA and Melinda Artis of Newark, NJ; an adopted daughter, Kim Jenkins; a special cousin and brother-at-heart, Ernie Tyrone Jones Bess; many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
Relatives and Friends are encouraged to visit Dr. Jones' tribute wall to share memories, extend condolences and to order floral tributes, as sentiments to the family.
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