Harvey A. Jonas Jr. (1919 - 2018)

  • "My sincere condolences to the family for the loss of Mr...."
    - Phillip Warren
  • "Rebecca, I am truly sorry for your loss. Harvey was a..."
    - Bill Lampley
  • "I absolutely adored Harvey Jonas. He was my favorite..."
  • "Mr. Jonas Jr. will be remembered for his true interest in..."
    - Ms. Sowell
  • "Harvey ,sorry to hear about your " dear father".Please be..."
    - Rich Favret

Harvey A. Jonas Jr., a longtime civic, business and political leader in Lincoln County, died Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Levine-Dickson Hospice House in Huntersville after several months of declining health. He was 99 years old and was believed to be the oldest practicing attorney in North Carolina. Born May 12, 1919 in Lincolnton, he was the son of the late Harvey A. Jonas Sr. and Maude Crowell Jonas, and grew up on the family homesite that is now the location of the Charles Jonas Library on West Main Street. He earned his Eagle Scout award while attending Lincolnton High School and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1940. He earned his law degree at UNC in 1942 before entering World War II as a U.S. Navy officer. Mr. Jonas was a charter member of the Lincolnton post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was a former commander of the local American Legion Post. A former Master of Lincoln Lodge 137, AF&AM, and a Shriner, he also served as president of the Lincolnton Chamber of Commerce and the Lincolnton Kiwanis Club. A lifelong member and leader of Lincolnton's First United Methodist Church, he formerly served as Gastonia district Lay Leader and served for several years as a trustee of the Rock Springs Campground. He was chairman of the board of First Federal Savings Bank for many years and served on the board for more than 60 years. He also was a former board member of Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital; Cochrane Furniture Co.; Cronland Warp Roll Co.; and Lincoln Frozen Foods. He served on the local board of First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. and was a charter member and president of the Lincoln County Horseman's Association. Harvey retired as senior partner from the Jonas Law Firm in 1989 but remained "of counsel" and continued to take care of the legal needs of his longtime clients and friends. He was a former member of the N.C. Bar Counsel and was one of the first lawyers selected for the N.C. Bar Association's General Practice Hall of Fame. He was admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965 and was recognized by the NC Bar State Bar for practicing law for 50 years and continued to practice for a total of 76 years. It was his desire to die a practicing member of the NC State Bar and the NC Bar Association. He was a devoted family man who loved his country, the Republican Party and his law firm where he practiced for a number of years with his father, the late Harvey A. Jonas Sr., his cousin, former U.S. Congressman Charles R. Jonas, and for 21 years with his granddaughter, Rebecca J. Pomeroy. "I realized that the most important job for a lawyer was to help people," Jonas told a newspaper reporter several years ago. "From the moment I stepped onto the campus at Chapel Hill, I always kept that in mind that I wanted to help people." He often traded legal advice for vegetables from a farmer's garden or worked without pay for a friend in need. Even in his 90s, he assisted neighbors at Abernethy Laurels in Newton with their legal issues and drove to the law office in Lincolnton weekly to meet with clients. Although he represented many small and large businesses during his career, he especially enjoyed doing legal work for his "dear" friends and family. A man of outstanding character and hard work, he was the ultimate Southern gentleman who always found the good in people. He was a kind and patient man, loved telling a good joke, and enjoyed the company of family and friends. He traveled the far ends of the world (including China and Russia) with the love of his life and wife of 73 years, the late Celeste Abernethy Jonas, and always made a point to let people know how proud he was to be an American. He was predeceased by his wife; a daughter, Susan Jonas Jenkins Chapman; and two sisters, Martha Sadri and Mary Lillian Conley Brown. Survivors include a daughter, Anna Jonas (Ken) Fortenberry of Boone; a son, Harvey Andrew Jonas of Lincolnton; a brother, Ralph T. Jonas of Huntersville; granddaughters, Rebecca Jenkins (Todd) Pomeroy of Lincolnton, Angela Fortenberry (Jason) Payne of Summerville, SC; and Leslie F. Thomas of Denver; grandsons, Richard H. (Lynn) Jenkins Jr. of Raleigh; Jonas H. Fortenberry of Atlanta; Benjamin (Jennifer) Fortenberry of Belmont and John Fortenberry of Concord; and nine great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Lincolnton First United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends following the ceremony. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Honor Flight Network, the Boy Scouts of America, the Levine-Dickson Hospice House or to the First United Methodist Church in Lincolnton. Warlick Funeral Home in handling the services for the family.
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Warlick Funeral Home
125 Dave Warlick Drive
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-2521
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Published in Charlotte Observer on June 25, 2018
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