Jones-Ploeger, Emma Jo


Emma Jo Jones Ploeger passed away peacefully at her residence on Friday, August 26, 2022.

Funeral services will be held 2:00 PM Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at St. Paul United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Edwin M. "Buddy" Cooper, Jr. officiating. A private family interment will be held Wednesday at the Historic Riverside Cemetery in Macon, Georgia with Rev. Jimmy Asbell officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the services at St. Paul United Methodist Church according to McMullen Funeral Home and Crematory, 3874 Gentian Blvd. Columbus, GA 31907.

Emma Jo Jones Ploeger was born 80 years ago in San Antonio, Texas. She was the daughter of Wallace Glenn Jones of Fayetteville, GA and Mary Helen Steed Jones of Fairburn, GA, respectively. Emma Jo lived the first 13 years of her life in Texas where her father was a civil engineer with the Government Corp of Engineers. In 1955, she returned to her Georgia heritage by moving to Macon, Georgia. As a student at A.L. Miller High School for girls, Emma Jo was vice president of student council, first president of the Inner-School Student Councils of Bibb County , a cheerleader for the Lanier Poets, homecoming queen, and voted class favorite her senior year.

As a freshman at Wesleyan College in Macon, she was selected as a cheerleader, member of the homecoming court and voted the Best Dressed Coed for the 1961 September issue of Mademoiselle Magazine. Emma Jo was a fashion model in her high school years and was selected by Seventeen Magazine to appear in the September 1960 issue where she posed for pictures at The Varsity Restaurant in Atlanta.

Emma Jo transferred to The University of Georgia in the fall of 1961. She pledged Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and was voted Miss Modern Venus by Sigma Chi Fraternity. She accumulated scholastic honors (Mortar Board) by Sigma Chi by being selected Homecoming Queen of 1962, Pandora Court, Miss March of Dimes, Miss Athens, first runner-up to Miss Georgia and the National Peach Queen of 1962.

Upon marrying Bill Ploeger of Darien, Georgia she moved to Columbus, Georgia where Bill began an insurance career with the Jordan Company and Emma Jo continued her service to others. Emma Jo began as a teacher at the Girls Club and within a few years she became President of the Girls Club Board of Directors. In 1968, Emma Jo received the Distinguished Service Award from the Girls Club International.

In 1971, Emma Jo was awarded/recognized as one of the Outstanding Women of America for her many volunteer efforts. She was one of 50 recipients across America.

Emma Jo's service to her community have included: 25-year membership as a St. Francis Hospital Board of Trustees member, vice-chairman and secretary of the Hospital Authority of Columbus, St. Francis Hospital Foundation founding board member, Columbus State College Schwob Department of Music Patrons of Music founding board member, Boy Scouts of America executive board, Chamber of Commerce Medical Affairs Board, Vice-President of the Springer Theater Company Board of Directors, and Historic Columbus Foundation Board of Trustees.

As a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Emma Jo served on the executive board in numerous capacities. She taught Sunday school and vacation bible school. She organized the first Easter Egg Hunt in 1968 which has continued to this day as a major fundraiser for the United Methodist Women of St. Paul.

Emma Jo entered the business world as fashion director at Kirven's Department Store from 1975-1977. In 1977, she pioneered the concept of real estate corporate relocation for Dan Parker Reality Company and remained in that field until 2000.

She enjoyed her membership in the Columbus Junior League, Sprig and Dig Garden Club, Green Island Country Club, Big Eddy Club, Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Columbus Historic Foundation, Columbus Museum of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia Alumni Foundation, Wesleyan College Foundation, Columbus Symphony Guild, Summit Charter School Foundation of Cashiers, N.C., High Hampton Country Club of Cashiers, N.C. where she had a home, Diamiano Center of Duluth, MN, and the Girl's Club of Columbus where she received the Distinguished Service Award of Girls International.

Emma Jo is survived by her daughter, Allison Ploeger Young (Richard) of Macon, GA; her grandsons, William Whitaker Young, Atlanta, GA, and Thomas Steed Young, Nashville, TN. She will be remembered fondly for her generous spirit, big heart, fun-loving nature, and fierce devotion to friends and family. She was loved and will be missed.

Donations can be made to Girls Inc. 3535 Levy Road Columbus, GA 31903, St. Paul United Methodist Church 2101 Wildwood Ave. Columbus, GA 31906, or Antioch United Methodist 7650 Rivertown Rd. Fairburn, GA 30213.

Funeral Home Information

McMullen Funeral Home