GASTONIA - Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel, Ret.) Dean H. Jones, 79, passed away Aug. 31, 2014 at Peak Resources of Cherryville.
Dean was born Jan. 20, 1935, in Gastonia, to the late Randolph and Connie Evelyn Caldwell Jones. He was preceded in death by a brother, Dempsey Jones;
He was baptized into the Christian faith by Dr. V. Ward Barr at First Baptist Church;
After completing junior high school in Gastonia, his father, Randolph Jones, moved the family to Au-gusta, Georgia so that he could fulfill his dream of becoming an attorney. After studying briefly at the University of Georgia School of Law, Dean was baffled and confused about his future life. So he decided to leave academic life for a while and joined the U.S. Marine Corps. During this time the Lord began probing his heart asking for total submission to His will. Dean knew that Christ was calling him into the ministry but he was reluctant to obey this calling.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Dean figured that teaching school would satisfy the call from heaven. After teaching only one year, he entered Southeastern Baptist Seminary and completed his Master of Di-vinity degree in 1963. As a former Marine, he became a chaplain in the U. S. Navy Reserves and was an associate pastor of Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina.
The war in Vietnam was intensifying in the mid-sixties and Chaplain Jones was asked to come on ac-tive duty. The Navy couldn't guarantee service with the Marine Corps, and because he disliked sea duty, he entered active duty in the Army in 1966. In 1967-68, he served in Vietnam. It was an experience he never forgot. He left there with a Bronze Star and reported to Ft. Jackson, SC.
It was in Columbia that he met Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Davis, a registered nurse employed by the VA Hospital. They were married in 1969 and later became the proud parents of two children, Marla and Mark;
After leaving active duty, Dean became a chaplain in the NC National Guard and finally in the Army Reserves. He retired as Lieutenant Colonel years later. He was a 100% service-connected disabled veter-an.
Dr. Jones received a Master of Arts degree from Appalachian State University in 1971 and a Doctor of Education degree from Nova Southeastern University in 1976. He spent many years as a interim pastor in churches in Gaston County and at Gaston College as a counselor and then a professor in religion. When he retired in 1995, he was awarded the title of "Faculty Emeritus." He was also a community lead-er, having served on the Gaston County Board of Education from 1978-1988.
Dean is survived by his wife of 45 years, Betty Davis Jones; daughter and son in law, Marla Jones (Chris) Ivester of Gastonia; son, Mark Jones of Gastonia; brothers, Ben (Juanita) Jones of Augusta, GA; Hafey Clyde (Lou) Jones of Gastonia; Randy Jones, Decatur, GA; sister, Carla (David) Bell of Cartersville, GA; 3 grandchildren; number of nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Friday, September 5, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Gastonia, with full military honors by the North Carolina National Guard. The family will receive friends Thursday from 6-8 PM at Ward Funeral Service, 220 South Broad Street.
A private burial service for the family will be held at a later date at either Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC; or The National Cemetery at Ft. Jackson, SC.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC; 28201.
Condolences may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org for the Jones family.
Ward Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements.
Ward Funeral Service Inc
220 S Broad St Gastonia, NC 28054
Published in Gaston Gazette on Sept. 3, 2014