News obit: Stephen Jones, lifelong educator and Asheville community leader

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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stephen_jones_obituary_2015Stephen was a vibrant community force. His obituary:

Stephen Powell Jones, 73, a lifelong educator and community leader, died Friday, January 9, 2015 peacefully of brain cancer at home in Asheville, North Carolina.

Stephen was known for his exuberance, big heart, and advocacy for social justice.

He was the tall, slender, smiling man seen around town, ascending Town Mountain on his electric bike, cleaning trash from riverbanks, steering conversation on local boards, teaching adult immigrants to read, and serving as witness for same-sex marriages. He would spend an hour rototilling his garden in Cleveland Heights and then the rest of the day doing the same for neighbors.

Stephen was born on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1941, in Gates Mills, Ohio, to Marian Ginn Jones and William Powell Jones. He graduated from University School (Cleveland, Ohio), earned a BA at Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.), and a masters in English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He worked as a teacher at the Park School of Buffalo, as teacher, coach and head of the Shaker Heights campus of University School, as headmaster of Renbrook School (Hartford, Conn.), and as headmaster of Elisabeth Morrow School (Englewood, N.J.), jobs in which he was a mentor to hundreds of teachers and a compassionate advocate for all his students, especially those who were struggling.

During the Viet Nam war he served in the U.S. Army Reserves. A consummate facilitator and team-builder, he was founding Board President of the Cleveland Children’s Museum and served his communities through board service for the Cleveland Institute of Music, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, Homeward Bound of WNC, Asheville Greenways Commission, Mountain BizWorks, Asheville GreenWorks, and the Western North Carolina Historical Association.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years, Suzanne Ringler Jones; three sons, Andrew Jones (Asheville); Cador Pricejones (Somerville, Mass.), married to Margaret Pricejones; Nathan Jones (San Jose, Calif.), married to Elena Jones; seven grandchildren: Annabelle and Cador Jones; Esmay and Powell Pricejones; Natalia, Isabella, and Danica Jones; his brothers, Peter H. (Hal) Jones (Lake Bluff, Ill.); Christopher Jones (Kimberton, Pa.), married to Leslie Wright Jones; and Nicholas Jones (Oberlin, Ohio), married to Sue Copeland Jones; foster daughter Christine Wheatley (North Ridgeville, Ohio); and many nieces and nephews.

His memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, officiated by Reverend Mark Ward, on January 30, 2015, at 3:00 p.m.

Donations in his honor may be made to Campaign for Southern Equality, Homeward Bound of WNC, or the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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