Former area newspaper man, civic leader dies
By Lynn J. Richardson
He was the son of the late Carl A. and Kathryn Paxton Jones, and was part of the family who owned the Herald & Tribune until the newspaper was sold to Sandusky Publishing in 2002.
Jones was a native of Johnson City and was a 1960 graduate of Science Hill High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Wofford College in 1964.
Following classes at East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee, he earned a Master of Arts degree in mass communications from Texas Technological University while serving in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant.
He was a leading force in the Johnson City community through his volunteerism and support of civic issues all of his adult life. Tim grew up in the newspaper business beginning in 1968, the third generation of the Jones family in the publishing business. He served as vice president and general manager of the Johnson City Press until the sale of the business in 2002. Tim and his son, Derby, purchased the Williamson Herald in Franklin, TN more than a year ago, he served as the newspaper’s CEO. Tim and his family were instrumental in making the Johnson City Public Library a reality, as well as advocating other initiatives beneficial for the city’s downtown. He has contributed countless hours of time over the years to benefit the people of this area serving as past President and Campaign Chairman of the Johnson City United Way; past and present Chairman of the Board of Girls Inc.; a founding member and twice past President of the Johnson City Evening Rotary Club, where he is also a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International Foundation; and past chairman of the Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
Gary Mabry, president/CEO of the Chamber, says he will “celebrate” Jones.
“He was a very special man,” Mabry said. “Tim Jones did everything he could for everyone he knew and never expected anything in return.”
Mabry praised Jones for his extensive involvement with the Chamber, a legacy that started with his dad.
“The Jones family is the only one who had three family members who led (the Chamber) – Carl A. Jones, Johnny (John A.) and Tim – all served as chairmen of the board.”
Mabry also reflected on Jones’ extensive contributions to the development of downtown Johnson City. “As chairman of the board, Tim created a piece of time we’re still enjoying,” Mabry said. “He was part of a downtown committee which led to the development of the Johnson City Development Authority and he was instrumental in creating a downtown plan for the 21st century which also celebrates the heritage of the city. His downtown improvements will be enjoyed for generations to come.”
But for Mabry, most of all, Tim was a good friend. “He was a FRIEND – an upper case friend,” Mabry said. “I am blessed to be able to say that and feel good about all he did inside and outside of business. He never lost his sense of humor, his sense of courage or his love. He wanted everyone around him to feel good.”
“He did fight the good fight and he did keep the faith and Tim will look down from the best seat in house. May light perpetual shine on Tim Jones.”
“I see him in so many things around here,” Mabry added. “I loved Tim Jones.”
His volunteer leadership and monetary contributions have impacted over 20 local non-profit organizations and those they serve. Tim has exhibited outstanding commitment and devotion to East Tennessee State University. He was Chairman of the ETSU Foundation from 2003- 2007; he served as ETSU Pirate Club President from 1987 to 1989. He is a member of the James H. Quillen College of Medicine Visiting Committee. His family established the Carl A. Jones Scholarship Endowment in memory of his father, who was instrumental in the fight to establish the College of Medicine to relieve the shortage of physicians in our region. In 1997, the ETSU Alumni Association named him an “Honorary Alumnus”. He and his wife, Valda, worked as a team on community service projects, particularly the Dawn of Hope Development Center, and in 1999 they received the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Mountain Empire Association of Fund Raising Professionals. He was the recipient of the ETSU Foundation Margin of Excellence Award in 2008; the JCWC Chamber Hall of Fame Award in 2010; and the Regents’ Award of Excellence in Philanthropy in 2010. He was also founding director of Peoples Community Bank. One of Tim’s greatest joys was coaching his children’s sports teams. Above all these accolades, Tim thought his greatest achievement was his family.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister-in-law, Janice “Sissy” Jones.
Survivors include his wife, Valda Hicks Jones, Johnson City; one son, Derby Jones and wife Cassie, of Brentwood, TN; four daughters, Courtney Jones Fussell and husband Shawn, of Memphis, TN; Kathryn Jones, Franklin, TN, Erin Jones Ross, and husband Andy, of Greenville, SC, Lauren Jones, of New York, New York; two brothers, Carleton A. “Cotty” Jones III and John A. Jones; one sister, Alice Jones Torbett, and husband David; nine grandchildren, David Haywood Fussell III, Georgia Dimple Link, Andrew Walter Ross, Jr., Owen Jones Fussell, Maggie Sullivan Jones, Timothy Carter Ross, Russell Derby Jones, Nelson Paxton Link, and William Brooks Ross. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
The funeral service for Mr. Jones will be conducted at 11 a.m.. Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church with Rev. Brian Taylor and Rev. Michael Lester officiating. The graveside committal service will follow the funeral on Tuesday in Monte Vista Memorial Park. Active pallbearers will be; Dr. Rod Biosca, Phil Carriger, Bob Cooper, Jack Cox, Ed DeVault, Davis Garrison, Tom Harris, Gary Mabry, Dan Mahoney, Dr. Richard Manahan, Tom McKee, Mike Rutherford, Dr. Al Spritzer, Charles Steagall, J. D.Swartz, Guy Wilson. Pallbearers in Memoriam; Bill Breeden, Don Miller, John Castle, Jordan Castle, and Jim Mulrooney. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Johnson City Evening Rotary Club.
Those who prefer memorials may be made to Girls, Inc., 227 Library Lane, Johnson City, TN 37601, or Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church, 201 E. Market Street, Johnson City, TN 37601.
Memories and condolences may be left for the family at www.appfh.net.
Appalachian Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 800 E. Watauga Avenue, Johnson City, is serving the Jones family. (423) 928-6111