There was a lot of love in the Jones house on Aug. 27. Eugene Jones and Ellen Pierce Jones were celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary, and the couple didn’t mince words with each other.
“They kept telling each other, ‘I love you,’ ” said their daughter, Mabel L. Jones-Allen. “It was so sweet.”
It was time well spent, she said.
Eugene Robert Jones Sr., of Atlanta, died the next day, Wednesday, from complications of peripheral artery disease. He was 82.
A funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Cascade United Methodist Church. Entombment will follow at Lincoln Cemetery. Murray Brothers Funeral Home, Cascade Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.
Tuskegee-born and Atlanta-reared, Jones graduated from Washington High School and enrolled in what is now Fort Valley State University. An athlete, Jones once considered dropping out of college when money got low, but the college’s president, C.V. Troup, convinced him otherwise, his daughter said.
“Dr. Troup told him quitting was unacceptable,” said Jones-Allen, who moved back to her parents’ home to help care for her ailing father. “He took that message with him for the rest of his life.”
He remained in college until he served four years in the Marines, then graduated with a bachelor’s degree. He went on to earn a master’s from the University of Georgia. Jones taught special education in Atlanta Public Schools from the late-’50s through the mid-’60s and then became a resource social worker for the system.
“He would go to the home of kids who were not in school and find out why,” his daughter said. “He would do what he needed to do to buy shoes, clothes or food; to make sure these kids got to school.”
What Jones did for the children of Atlanta schools he also did for others, said longtime friend Merline D. McCloud, of Brunswick.
“He went out of his way to do good things for people,” she said. “That is just who he was.”
If he knew of a student who wanted to go to college, he would do everything he could to help, his daughter said. Active with the Fort Valley alumni association, he also took students to his alma mater for campus tours and to apply for admission.
“Yes, to say he was an advocate for Fort Valley would be an understatement,” McCloud said. “I’ve known him to recruit students and athletes himself. I’ve never known anyone more loyal to his alma mater.”
When Jones celebrated birthdays or other significant life milestones, he asked people to make donations to Fort Valley instead of buying him gifts, his daughter said.
“He’d tell everybody that we all had a duty to make sure every child got an education,” Jones-Allen said.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Jones is survived by his two sons, Eugene Jones Jr. of Douglasville and Ralph Jones Sr. of College Park; a stepbrother, Calvin Spear; five grandchildren; one step-granddaughter; two step-great-grandchildren.
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