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Dr. George Alexander Jones

1920 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Dr. George Alexander Jones Obituary
Hendersonville, NC-- On February 12, 2016, Dr. George Alexander Jones died at his home in Hendersonville, North Carolina and went home to be with his Lord. Born on August 2, 1920 in Saluda, North Carolina, Dr. Jones was the son of the late Uel Garfield and Martha Ida Constant Jones and was the last surviving of eight children.
Dr. Jones was a dedicated and committed minister, educator, historian, and public servant – a man of vision with the skills and perseverance to make dreams reality.
After graduating from Saluda High School, Dr. Jones was graduated from Lees McCrae College and Lenoir Rhyne College. Called to the ministry, he then enrolled at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. During his tenure there, Dr. Jones met his beloved wife Evelyn Masden who died five years ago, also on the 12th of February in 2011. George and Evelyn enjoyed nearly sixty-seven years of marriage.
The year 1944 was a special one in Dr. Jones's life. He married Evelyn, received his masters of theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and became a chaplain in the United States Army. After demobilization, Dr. Jones served as pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, Kentucky and began work on his doctorate. His first ministerial building project was the construction of educational space at Victory. He also worked for the Kentucky State Convention Sunday School Board and as an evangelist.
In 1950, he became pastor of First Baptist Church, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. During his years in Lawrenceburg, Dr. Jones successfully led a capital campaign to build a new educational building and received his doctorate in philosophy from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation examined the preaching of Richard Fuller, a noted 19th century Baptist minister from Beaufort, South Carolina.
Consequently, in 1955 the Baptist Church of Beaufort called him as pastor. His years in Beaufort were ones of great church growth. Under his leadership, the church purchased the block across the Charles Street from the church; built a new educational building with modern nursery facilities; renovated the historic sanctuary following the devastation of Hurricane Gracie, and led the church to launch a pioneer ministry for seasonal migrant workers in Beaufort County and developed three mission churches – Port Royal, Hilton Head, and Laurel Bay. He was active in integrating the ministerial association and served as first chairman of the Beaufort County Community Relations Council that contributed to the peaceful desegregation of Beaufort businesses and schools. He also worked to elect the first black city councilman in Beaufort since Reconstruction. He was also involved with the resurgence of the Republican Party in Beaufort.
Dr. Jones was also active in the Savannah River Association and the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Of particular note, he served many years on the Executive Committee and was involved in the process of moving Furman University to its beautiful new campus. In addition, Dr. Jones was a member of the founding board of the Baptist College of Charleston (now Charleston Southern University),
In 1970, Dr. Jones returned to Kentucky as the executive director (Director of Missions) for the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association, headquartered in Newport, Kentucky. His responsibilities included a convalescent center, college ministry at the then new Northern Kentucky University, an inner city ministry and meeting the needs of over sixty churches. Ever the visionary, Dr. Jones spearheaded the effort to acquire land and develop an associational camp and conference center. He also taught seminary courses for the Boyce School of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, Ohio. After fifteen years of service, Dr. Jones retired and returned to Western North Carolina.
In retirement, he served as interim pastor for Mountain Page Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Saluda and West Henderson Baptist Church, taught at Fruitland Institute and continued his connection with the Boyce Center. For the International Mission Board, he also briefly pastored a church in West Berlin, Germany. In addition, he and Evelyn also made several overseas mission trips to China and Wales and accompanied the Billy Graham Crusade to Russia. Missions were a lifelong interest for Dr. and Mrs. Jones.
After moving to Hendersonville, Dr. and Mrs. Jones united with First Baptist Church, Hendersonville. And both taught adult Sunday School classes for over twenty years.
Another major interest was Dr. Jones's love of history. As a child, he not only learned natural history from his mother, but also developed a deep interest in the history of Western North Carolina and the families who settled this special part of the world. During his working years, Dr. Jones was active in the Kentucky and South Carolina Baptist Historical Societies and among other positions served as president. A special research interest was John Gano, a Baptist minister and the first chaplain of the United States Army.
In Hendersonville, Dr. Jones founded the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society, chaired the Henderson County Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee in 1989 and later the Henderson County Committee for the Celebration of the Bicentennial of the US Constitution. In addition, he worked tirelessly to save the Historic Courthouse and chaired the Henderson County Historic Courthouse Board and the Heritage Museum Board. This group oversaw the renovation of the courthouse which now houses the Henderson County museum. He was the first president of the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society and editor of volumes I & II of the Henderson County Heritage and the Henderson County Cemeteries. In addition, he co-authored with his daughter Alexia Jones Helsley, A Guide to Historic Henderson County, North Carolina. The Society of North Carolina Historians recognized him as the historian of Western North Carolina in 1989.
Recently, he was involved with efforts to save the historic depot in his hometown of Saluda, North Carolina. In January, as a fund-raiser, the depot committee sponsored the premier of Patricia Bradley's documentary on Dr. Jones' life. Such a large number attended, that the organizers had to schedule a second showing that day.
A dedicated citizen, Dr. Jones was widely involved in civic affairs. Of particular note is his work as chair of the Beaufort County Joint Planning Commission. Dr. Jones was instrumental in developing the first historic preservation ordinances for the city of Beaufort.
For example, since his move to Hendersonville, Dr. Jones served on the Boards of Pardee Hospital, the Apple Festival, and Farm-City Day (where for many years he displayed his collection of antique tools and demonstrated cedar shake making). The Apple Festival of 2015 was his last official function for the Apple Board. He and Mrs. Jones were grand marshals of the King Apple Parade twice. His tenure at Pardee spanned many years of hospital expansion. Dr. Jones frequently spoke to civic, historic and patriotic groups on historic subjects. Family researchers treasured the opportunity to plumb his limitless knowledge of area families and their history. He was widely recognized as an authority on Henderson County cemeteries as he and other volunteers devoted five years to surveying, cataloguing and publishing the county's cemeteries – from isolated family plots to incorporated entities.
In honor of exemplary public service wherever he lived, both the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the State of North Carolina specially honored him: Kentucky named him an Honorary Kentucky Colonel and North Carolina presented him with the Order of the Longleaf Pine.
A lifelong Republican, Dr. Jones worked to revive the party in South Carolina and during his time in Kentucky he proudly served as a delegate to two presidential conventions. In 2015 the Henderson County Republican Party honored his over fifty years of service to the party.
In addition, Dr. Jones was member of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons. He was both a member of the 32nd Scottish Rite and a York Rite College Mason. Originally sponsored by his father-in-law, Henry Garfield Masden, in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, Dr. Jones treasured his over sixty year connection with the Masons.
Similarly, Dr. Jones was proud of serving his country. As one of the few surviving WWII chaplains, Dr. Jones attended several functions sponsored by the Chaplains' School at Fort Jackson. A special time was the dedication of the chaplain's memorial at Fort Jackson. In addition, he honored the courage and dedication of those who have served in the armed forces. He was involved with the Pearl Harbor county commemoration and thrilled to be a participant in the first Honor Air flight from Henderson County.
Dr. Jones and his wife Evelyn were the parents of four children: Alexia Evelyn Jones Helsley (Terry), Columbia, South Carolina; Martha Marilyn Jones Denka (George), Blythewood, South Carolina; Uel Henry Jones (Pat Youngblood) of Mountain View, California, and Georgeanne Masden Jones Hammond of Hendersonville. In addition, they have five grandchildren: Ansley Denka Rudd (Josh); G. Alex Denka; Cassandra Helsley Paschal (Johnny); Reverend Jacob H. Helsley (Sarah Beth), and Samuel Masden Hammond and four great-grandchildren: Hayden Masden Rudd; Hollis Magruder Rudd; Keiser Alexia Paschal and Justus Evelyn Paschal. Dr. Jones was blessed to baptize his four children, five grandchildren and one of his great-grandchildren. In addition, he conducted the wedding ceremonies of daughters Alexia and Georgeanne, son Uel, and granddaughters Ansley and Cassandra. Last June, he offered a special prayer during the marriage of his grandson Jacob in First Baptist Church, Charleston, South Carolina. He also participated in the ordination of Jacob Helsley to the Gospel ministry.
As a former Beaufort connection commented: "His life made a difference – as a pastor, civic leader and father. He was an example to all of us."
Dr. Jones's funeral will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, NC. The family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall following the service. The Reverend Dr. Roger Capps, retired from the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and currently living in Beaufort, South Carolina will conduct the service assisted by Dr. Jones's grandson, Reverend Jacob Helsley, pastor of Blaney Baptist Church in Elgin, South Carolina.
Pallbearers will be Dr. Jones's grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Honorary pallbearers include Dr. Jones's Men (his Sunday School Class), members of the Henderson County Historical & Genealogical Society, and members of Kedron Lodge #387, Ancient Free & Accepted Masonic Lodge in Hendersonville, NC.
Interment will follow at 10:30 AM on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Hebron Cemetery in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. His grandson, the Rev. Jacob Helsley will conduct the graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the George Alexander & Evelyn Masden Jones Fund, c/o Community Foundation of Henderson County, 401 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792; the Historic Saluda Committee, 32 West Main Street, Saluda, NC; or to the Jones Cemetery Fund Upward, c/o Wells Fargo, 421 South Church Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792.
An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements.
Published in The Times-News from Feb. 15 to Feb. 16, 2016
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