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Joseph H. Jones, Sr.

July 9, 1924 April 24, 2017
Joseph H. Jones, Sr.
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Obituary for Joseph H. Jones, Sr.

Joseph H. Jones, Sr., 92, of Pottsville, passed away in Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill East Norwegian Street, Pottsville on Monday morning.

Born in Shamokin, Northumberland County, on July 9, 1924, he was the son of the late Anna Elizabeth (Lippiatt) and Joseph Hayward Jones.

He was educated in the Shamokin Public Schools. He served three years in the United States Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged with the rank of Lt., JG. He served in the Pacific Theater. Jones continued his education at Ursinus College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree; Dickinson School of Law, receiving the Degree of Juris Doctor; and New York University, receiving a Master of Laws Degree in Taxation. First in his class at Dickinson Law School, he was also Editor-in Chief of the Dickinson Law Review. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Ursinus College in 1987.

In 1950 he moved to Pottsville and began practicing law with the firm of Hicks, Williamson & Friedberg (now Williamson, Friedberg & Jones). He was admitted to practice before the Supreme and Superior Courts of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the United States District Court and Tax Court. He was Vice President of the Schuylkill County Bar Association from 1976 to 1977 and President in 1978 and 1979. He concentrated his practice in corporate law, taxation, estate planning, wills and estates, and elder law.

Mr. Jones has been a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association since his admission to the Bar in 1950 and served as President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association during 1987-1988. During his term, he was effective in bringing minorities into active participation in Pennsylvania Bar activities, in promoting continuing legal education for lawyers, and, as Chairman of a statewide task force on Legal Services to the Needy, improving the availability of legal services to the poor.

In 1990, he was presented with the Pennsylvania Bar Medal by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, one of five persons at that time ever to have been awarded this honor, which is the highest honor the Bar Association can bestow.

Mr. Jones had served as a member of the Lawyers Trust Account Board since the enactment of the legislation creating the Board in 1988, administering IOLTA (interest on lawyer’s trust accounts) monies used for the purpose of providing funding for civil legal services to the poor. He was appointed to the Board by Rep. Matthew Ryan, then Majority Leader of the House, and served for seven years.

He was past President and was currently a Director of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Pennsylvania Bar. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Schuylkill Trust Company when it merged with Berks County Trust to become the American Bank and Trust Co. American later became Meridian Bancorp and he served on its Board of Directors, and also the Board of Meridian Asset Management until 1995. His service on bank boards totaled 38 years.

His biography has appeared in Who’s Who in America for a number of years.
Jones had an active career in civic affairs. He is past President of Hawk Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was President of the Appalachian Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America, prior to its inclusion in the Hawk Mountain Council and became the second President of Hawk Mountain Council. In 1992, Hawk Mountain Council honored Jones by awarding him the Boy Scouts’ Angel Award and was previously awarded the Silver Beaver Award.

In addition, he was past President and Secretary of the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation, and a Director for over twenty years; past President of Pottsville Lions Club; past Commander-in-Chief of Caldwell Consistory, Bloomsburg, 33rd Degree Mason and past President of the Salvation Army and a lifetime board member. He was President of the Pottsville Area Development Corporation in 1986. Recently, he had served as Chairman and then Vice Chairman of Lasting Legacy for Pottsville, an organization designed to originate and fund community improvement projects in the city.

He has served on the Penn State University Advisory Board, Schuylkill Campus, for over twenty-five years and was currently Chairman of the Development Committee. He has chaired a number of capital fund campaigns in its behalf.

In connection with his community service, he had been honored by the Pottsville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce, as its first “Young Man of the Year” (some years ago); by the Salvation Army, which presented him with its first annual “Others’ award in 1970 and in 1981 made him a life member of its Board of Directors, and by the Southern Schuylkill United Way, which named him “Volunteer of the Year” in 1972. In 1987 he received the “Distinquished Citizen Award” from Penn State University-Schuylkill Campus and “Citizen of the Year” from St. David’s Society of Schuylkill and Carbon Counties. In 1994, the Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival gave him the “Citizen of Year Award”. In 1995, he was named “Businessman of the Year” by the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce. In 1998, he received the ‘Torch of Liberty Award” from the Anti-Defamation League.

Jones had chaired successful capital fund raising campaigns for Schuylkill United Way, Greater Pottsville Industrial Development Corporation, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America, Pottsville Free Public Library, Good Samaritan Hospital, Pennsylvania State University (Schuylkill Campus), Ursinus College, Hawk Mountain Council, Pottsville Hospital, Pottsville Area Development Corporation, and Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation. For his efforts with Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation, a street in the new industrial park “Highridge” has been named “Joe Jones Way”.

He organized and incorporated Schuylkill County’s VISION (a county-wide program encouraging people and organizations to adopt specific improvement projects) and served from its inception as its first Chairman and then as a member of the Board until 2001. He has served on the Committee for Racial harmony for the City of Pottsville, which was an outgrowth of VISION.

He also aided in the organization and served as Chairman of Lasting Legacy for Pottsville, a corporation designed to promote Bicentennial celebration for Pottsville and to create a permanent endowment fund from which certain city projects can be promoted and receive additional funding. His term in office ended in 2011.

Joseph was a member of First United Methodist Church, Pottsville.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Grace (Hicks), on June 28, 2014, to whom he was married 63 years; son, Gregory Hicks Jones; grandson, Capt. Jason B. Jones; brother, Richard Jones; and sister, Gertrude Schmidt.

Joseph is survived by two children: Joseph H. “Jay” Jones Jr., of Orwigsburg and Elizabeth Christie, wife of John, of Boyds, MD; six grandchildren: Robert Hicks Christie, David Joseph Christie, Carolyn Ann Christie, Elizabeth Kaberle Jones, Lindsay Kate Jones, and Stephanie Grace Jones; sister, Dorothy Barnes, of State College; daughter-in-law, Kathy Jones, widow of Gregory; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, April 29th at 11:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 330 W. Market St., Pottsville with Rev. John Wallace officiating. A visitation will be held in the church from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service.

Interment with military honors will follow in Schuylkill Memorial Park, Schuylkill Haven.

The family request contributions in Joseph’s memory be sent to: First United Methodist Church, 330 W. Market St., Pottsville, PA 17901.

Lord-Bixler Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be expressed at lordbixler.com.

To plant a tree in memory of Joseph H. Jones, Sr., visit the Tribute Store.

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