William Earl Jones

Published 1:51 pm Friday, August 23, 2013

William Earl Jones, 90, of Greensboro, died Tuesday, Aug. 20 at Hale County Hospital.

Born in Conecuh County in 1922 to Cassie and Katie Jones, he was the oldest of six children. After attending school in Conecuh County, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corp program at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1938. He worked at the Mobile Ship Yard from 1939 through 1942, joining the Navy in December 1942.

He served on the New Mexico class battleship, U.S.S. Idaho. That ship was involved in 13 campaigns as the U.S. combined forces regained the islands lost to Japan following Pearl Harbor, participating in such well known battles as the Aleutian Islands, Martial Islands, Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He was aboard ship in Tokyo Bay when the Peace Treaty with Japan was signed, ending the Second World War.

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He was discharged in New Orleans on Dec. 25, 1945, as a Shipfitter Third Class. He is listed on the World War II Roll of Honor at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and is a longtime member of the American Legion.

He began work with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1947, continuing with that company through its subsidiaries Southern Bell and South Central Bell, and retiring in 1988 with almost 41 years service.

He met and married Frances Spencer in 1950 and to that union was born one child, Rachel Jones Parker. Frances and Earl were married 57 years at the time of her death in 2007. They were known in the community as a loving and devoted couple.

Earl was active in the First United Methodist Church of Greensboro, serving at various times as Sunday School teacher, children and men’s choir director, as well as being active in the United Methodist Men and the XYZ Senior Adult Fellowship. He was an active member of the Chancel Choir for over 50 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones were among the first 20 foundation members of Southern Academy. He served as a member of the Board and was vice-chairman at one time. He was also Southern’s representative to the Alabama Private School Athletic Association, serving as secretary, treasurer and vice chairman of the state athletic committee.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances Spencer Jones; his parents, Cassie and Katie Jones; sister, Christine Mayo; and brothers, James, Ray and Hirston Jones.

He is survived by his daughter, Rachel Jones Parker of Greensboro; sister, Mayrine Smith of Flomaton; and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Burial will held be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25 at Oakwood Cemetery with Kirk Funeral Homes Greensboro Chapel directing. Visitation will begin at 3 p.m. at the Greensboro First United Methodist Church, with a Celebration of Life to follow with Dr. Nathan Elliott, the Rev. Arthur Thomas and the Rev. Steve Vernon officiating and Kirk Funeral Homes directing.

Pallbearers will be Terry Smith, John Ryan, Mitchell Ryan, Josh Ryan, Travis Wilson and Edward Luker.