Former town, county leader Jerry Jones dies

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Former Shallotte alderman and mayor and former county commissioners chairman Jerry Jones, 63, died Thursday, Nov. 6, at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. He was surrounded by his family.

Jones’ family, friends and colleagues remember him as a public servant, family man and loyal friend who didn’t always have a lot to say but who always had the best interest of others at heart.

Jones was born in Conway, S.C., on May 11, 1945, a son of Allene Rowell Jones and the late Windle Wilson Jones. He moved to Shallotte in 1968 to work at Shallotte Lumber Co. and worked there for 33 years.

He and his wife Barbara Skipper Jones were married for 42 years and spent the last 39 in the same house on Columbus Street in Shallotte.

Jones’ family members say they’ve received numerous guests and phone calls since he passed and that speaks to his legacy.

Jones served on the Shallotte Board of Aldermen from 1981 to 1985. He was mayor from 1985 to 1990 and had another run as alderman from 2003 to 2007.

He served on the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners between 1990 and 1996 and as chairman from 1994 to1996. He served on the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission Board from 2000 to 2008.

“When he talked about going into politics, he talked about having a vision for Brunswick County,” Barbara Jones said recently. “It took a lot of time to serve the town and the county, but he felt like it needed to be done. He had the vision to do it.”

Barbara said her husband wasn’t interested in playing favorites or telling people what they wanted to hear. When someone asked him a question or made a suggestion, he would “think about it thoroughly” before responding.

“He’d look at it from different viewpoints so he could make up his mind.”

His elder son, Mark Jones of Shallotte, said his father was proud of the work he did on the town board. During his tenure, the town installed a sewer system, saw the construction of the U.S. 17 Bypass around town and experienced other milestones.

Mark Jones said he was most impressed with how his father treated people.

“He was the type of person who treated everyone the same, if it was a millionaire or the working man down the street. He was a very fair, good man.”

His younger son, Kyle Jones, hopes residents of Shallotte and Brunswick County will remember his father’s contributions for years to come.

“It’s really coming to light that it’s not just us but the community who will miss him,” Kyle Jones said, noting the number of people who visited his parents’ house since he died.

Mark Jones agreed.

“He was definitely thought of well by a lot of people.”

But, Barbara Jones points out, his political accomplishments were not nearly as important to him as his two sons and his 3-year-old granddaughter, Reyde, with whom he loved spending time right up until the end.

“She has a big imagination, and he loved playing her games with her,” Barbara Jones said.

Jerry Jones’ neighbor and fellow town alderman Buddy Kelly was one of many who stopped by the Jones’ house after learning of Jerry Jones’ death. Kelly said he would miss his longtime friend.

“It was a privilege to have Jerry as a friend all these years,” he said. “He was one you could depend on if you needed anything.”

Mayor Gerald Long called Jones “a very positive attribute to the town” and praised his thoughtfulness.

“He wasn’t a flamboyant mayor or alderman. He talked very little. When he did stand up and say something, you better get your ears on because it was something you need to hear and it made sense.”

Long recalled during Jones’ first term as mayor, the town functioned much differently than it does today. After the board made decisions, it was up to the mayor and the town clerk to get things done.

“He really was involved in every little aspect of what went on in town.

“There is no situation [in which] I didn’t have all the admiration in the world for Jerry Jones.”

Toward the end of his last term on the board of aldermen, in 2007, Jones was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). He battled the disease until the end.

His last moments were spent at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where his wife, two sons, granddaughter and the pastor from his church gathered at his side.

Funeral services were at Calvary Baptist Church, where he was a member. Entombment followed in a private estate mausoleum in Brunswick Memorial Gardens.

Memorials may be directed to the Chloe Reyde Jones College Fund, c/o Barbara Jones, P.O. Box 278, Shallotte, NC 28459.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.brunswickfuneralservice.com.