Captain Ernest Macon Jones, Jr.
July 20, 1936 - April 29, 2021
Columbia, South Carolina - On July 20, 1936, in Warrenton, North Carolina, Captain Ernest Macon Jones, Jr. was born into a home where duty and dedication prevailed above all. With his parents, Ernest, Sr. and Annie Evans Jones, being sharecroppers during the Great Depression, Ernest learned as a young boy to carry his responsibility well and began honing one of his many gifts; his willingness to serve others.
With an older sister, Margaret, to share his childhood with, the two were both witness to many historical moments, such as the start of World War II. When Ernest's father was drafted into the Army, he was thoroughly impressed. He admired his dad's uniform so much, that he would sneak into his parent's bedroom to try on his father's uniform.
Ernest was forever shaped by this experience and lead to serve his country. In his junior year of high school, he joined the United States Air Force National Guard, where he served for four years. At the end of those 4 years in the National Guard, Ernest would continue to fulfill his calling by enlisting in the United States Army, where almost 27 years were spent selflessly, wearing the uniform, saluting our flag, and protecting our sovereignty. He embodied those pillars of loyalty and service.
Because of the disciplined man that he was, Ernest was asked in 1963 to accept the challenge of developing the United States Army Drill Sergeant School. And in 1969, Ernest would complete Officer Candidate School and immediately join the other U.S. Forces in Vietnam. As part of the 4th Infantry Division 1/12 in Pleiku, Vietnam, the then Lieutenant Jones, as a platoon leader, was responsible for the lives of his soldiers every day, leading them into and out of harm's way. A task of responsibility he never questioned, but welcomed as a privilege… boots on the ground, "Follow Me." Lieutenant Jones would be promoted to Captain Jones and also have the duty as Company Commander (CO) where his leadership style impacted the quality of life and morale for the troops to which he was responsible. These troops would complete missions to secure the firebase for Headquarters and conduct search and destroy missions in the Valley around Pleiku and Cambodia. It was through those difficult years of dedication and leadership that Captain Jones earned the respect of his men and the Vietnamese scouts. Always following the SOP (standard operating procedure), he lead with discipline and understanding.
After his time in Vietnam, Ernest had many duty stations some of which were Charleston, SC, Washington, DC, and Panama, and Fort Jackson, as a Senior Instructor. As much as he thrived in the structure of the military, he retired in 1983.
In 1974, Ernest would meet Dee, the love of this life, and the two would be married for nearly 42 years. He enjoyed being outside with his boys and fishing or undertaking a project at home.
He took much pride in his eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. He loved by example and left no need unmet. Often recognized for his stature (6 foot 4 inches in his prime), he answered to many nicknames, being known to his grandchildren as "Opa," his friends as "Big Ugh," and to Dee as "Ernestine." To his family and friends from Warrenton, he was known as "Macon." He had an enduring love for dogs, found a joke for every occasion and made others comfortable in any situation.
Ernest died securely with Christ on April 29, 2021. He will live on through those who knew him, as his faithful service to his country and his family left a legacy of truth and conviction. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Cheek and her children, Alan Cheek (Iris and Tamara), Denise Allen (Craig, Tiffany and Bridgette) and Larry Cheek (Jordan); his sons Mike (Jodi, Hannah and Bria) and Ray (Christi, Mary Stewart, Graham and Ellis); and daughter, Joy Seate (Jennifer, Jessica, Jared and Jaxon).
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to please join them in the establishment of the "Captain Ernest M. Jones, Jr. Army JROTC Program at Ben Lippen School." Donations may be made as follows: online at https://www.benlippen.com/jrotc
or by mail to Ben Lippen School, c/o Kelly Davis, 7401 Monticello Road, Columbia, SC 29203.
A funeral service will be held at 9:00 a.m. Monday, May 17, 2021 at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, with burial in Fort Jackson National Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. There will also be a livestream of the service on Dunbar Funeral Home – Devine's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DunbarDevine
. Memories may be shared at www.dunbarfunerals.com