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Dr. J.  Leon Jones
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Obituary for Dr. J. Leon Jones

Dr. J. Leon Jones

Lakeland – The life of Dr. James Leon Jones began with a little country boy born to honest, respected, Christian parents, working hard in fields on a farm near Luverne, Alabama. A man who was driven far beyond the average to excel was molded in this setting; he saw a vision and never looked back. Leon’s ambition and hard work transferred over to making a difference in lives of young men and women, institutions of learning and ultimately, America. To know Leon was to love and respect him. He will be sorely missed. His life on earth ended on July 18, 2018.

After attending public schools of Luverne and graduating from Troy University in Alabama in 1959, Leon moved to Florida where he taught secondary school mathematics in Fort Walton Beach and Apopka. It was there he met the love of his life, Donna Kinser Jones. Marriage soon followed, and the two teachers moved to Columbia, S.C., for Leon to pursue a Master’s degree in Mathematics at the University of South Carolina (USC) in 1963.

Upon graduation from USC, Leon helped set up the mathematics department at Richland Technical Education Center in Columbia (later became Midlands Technical College), serving a total of 20 years as instructor, department head, dean and vice president during his tenure.

Between his two terms at Midlands Technical College, he earned his Doctorate in Education degree from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. (1978). In 1983 Dr. Jones and his family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he spent 2 years in academic administration at Chattanooga State Technical College.

His final academic appointment was Dean and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Pellissippi State Community College. During his 18 years there, he was responsible for three campuses supervising academic programming, student services, deans of various departments and members of faculty and staff.

Dr. Jones’ life was truly a life of service and commitment to people and education. He had a membership with active involvement in many professional and civic organizations. Awards and honors in his professional life were numerous, and his personal life was about honoring God through family, friends and service. He was versed in fathering three special children. Leon was a “hands-on” father and, alongside Donna, made positive avenues in navigating care of two special needs children.

Dr. Jones was a lifetime active member of the United Methodist Church, and it was there that he learned to put his faith into action. Leon was a faithful, loving husband and committed father. It was his faith that brought him through the storms of life to come out on the other side better for the challenge. It was his integrity that grew out good parenting, obedience to God’s standards, and high regard for doing what was right that carried him through life.

Dr. Jones is survived by his wife and caregiver, Donna Kinser Jones; son, Eric Leon Jones (Heather) and adored grandchildren, Ronin, and Zoe; siblings Peggy Jones Stephens and Paul Ray Jones: as well as nieces and nephews. Leon was predeceased by his parents, Paul Mitchell and Verby Kennedy Jones, and two Children, Elana Marie and Brooks Kinser Jones.

After retirement December 12, 2002, Knox County declared that day to be Dr. Leon Jones Day in Knoxville, Tennessee. Thus began a “second life” as volunteer with Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine and Meals on wheels inn Polk County. An avid reader, gardener and traveler, Leon was able to mesh his interest and the interests of his treasured Donna to give their marriage energy, adventure, and fulfillment.

Much appreciation is extended to the ALS Association for their support. Their mission is to “leave Florida Chapter no stone unturned in search for the cure of this progressive neurodegenerative disease.”

Comfort Keepers of Lakeland, Florida, and Good Shepherd Hospice provided much care and support to Leon and Donna over many months and they will be remembered with love and gratitude.

A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church, 72 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801, on Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 11:00 am with a visitation/reception following in the Narthex.

Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, 72 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801 or ALS Association 3242 Parkside Center Circle, Tampa, FL 33619.


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Previous Events

Service

Saturday

21

Jul

11:00 AM
First United Methodist Church Chapel

72 Lake Morton Drive
Lakeland, Florida 33801

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