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Wesley H. Jones

1938 - 2020
Wesley H. Jones Obituary
(News story) Wesley H. Jones, a standout on the City League champion 1958 Scott High School basketball team regarded as among the best of his era, who later channeled his athletic skill into golf and teaching the game to youth, died Jan. 29 in ProMedica Flower Hospital, Sylvania. He was 81.

Mr. Jones of Sylvania Township suffered heart failure, said Wilma Preston, his longtime life partner.

He worked in the automotive industry for 26 years. He retired from an environmental maintenance position at the Ford Motor Co. stamping plant in Maumee, where he worked for 19 years. Earlier he worked on the assembly line at the Jeep plant in Toledo.

After he retired Mr. Jones played golf at least four days a week when the weather allowed, mostly on public courses. He encouraged young golfers through the Toledo Minority Golf Association.

"He loved to instruct them on how to swing a golf club the right way," Ms. Preston said. "It took a few lessons from him, hey, they got it right. He was very good."

Ron Jackson, a retired Toledo police deputy chief and a Scott basketball teammate said: "He was good at golf, good at pool shooting. He was good at any athletic thing he did.

"Wes and I go back to the mid-1950s. I played against Wes at the playground and at the Y," said Mr. Jackson, who was a Scott sophomore Mr. Jones' senior year. "He was one of the finest basketball players to come out of this city. He was way ahead of his time as far as his style of basketball. He was able to demonstrate a lot of mental knowledge of the game."

Mike Smythe, another sophomore Mr. Jones' senior year, said: "His defensive skills were unmatched. On offense, his passing and overall assists made Scott nearly impossible to stop. Wesley was silky smooth and played basketball the way Wayne Gretzky played hockey, always two steps ahead of the competition.

"He didn't get the recognition he deserved, because he wasn't a high point scorer. He made the other guys look good," said Mr. Smythe, who became a sportscaster and television executive. "That was his skill."

Indeed, Mr. Jones sacrificed his personal scoring that championship season, concentrating on defense so that teammates Ralph Lewis and Ray Wolford could score, said Mr. Lewis.

"Wes was light-years ahead of his contemporaries, including myself, in the mental aspect of the game. He was also very good at basketball itself on the physical end," said Mr. Lewis, who played football and basketball at Scott; lettered in basketball at the University of Toledo, and became a lawyer and a Lucas county assistant prosecutor. "He was a leader. He could score whenever he wanted to. He was the total package."

As Scott was set to meet Columbus North High School in a 1958 regional tournament, Blade sports writer Tom Loomis wrote, "Lean and agile, Wes Jones, hero of many a Scott High game over the past three seasons, will be making the most important performance of his basketball career tonight."

Mr. Lewis remembers every detail. Mr. Jones got into early foul trouble, working to stop Columbus North's star player, and spent much of the game on the bench. Columbus North won, 52-50, thanks to a successful shot by that star player with two seconds to go.

"We should have won that game. Our best player was on the bench," Mr. Lewis said.

Mr. Jones - and Mr. Lewis - were among the 2009 inductees to the Toledo City Athletic League Hall of Fame.

He was born Nov. 30, 1938, to Vera and William Jones. After Scott, he attended UT and served stateside in the Army. He played federation baseball and basketball and even had a stint on the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters' perennial opponent.

"He liked to joke," Ms. Preston said. "He would make you comfortable. He was that kind of person."

Surviving are his life partner of 33 years, Wilma Preston; sons, Wesley E. Jones, Emile Gable, and Christopher Roosevelt; daughter, Tamyka L. Moore; stepdaughters, Dionne Huddleston and Roxanne Preston; sister, Marsha L. Clark; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the C. Brown Funeral Home Chapel, preceded by a 1 p.m. family hour and wake.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at [email protected] or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Feb. 7, 2020
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