Rotarians mourn the loss of Jones

Published 10:43 am Thursday, August 20, 2015

When members of Vicksburg’s Rotary Club come together Thursday for their weekly meeting, the club’s longtime secretary will not be there, leaving an open seat at the head table and a large hole in the hearts of its members.

Edley Jones, a 65-year member of Rotary International and Vicksburg native, died Wednesday at St. Dominic Jackson Memorial Hospital in Jackson. He was 87.

Even from the hospital, Jones worked hard to write his weekly Rotary newsletter Rotary Rouge.

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Vicksburg Rotary president Annette Kirklin said Jones was focused on getting the meeting notes from the substitute secretary, and he was able to send out a one-page newsletter as recently as Sunday night.

“He was worried about Rotary and getting out information,” Kirklin said.

For 60 years Jones served as the secretary of Vicksburg’s Rotary Club and was recently named to the Rotary Heritage and History Hall of Fame. He is one of only 120 people who have ever been admitted into the hall of fame. A club attendance award was even named after him because of his dedication to always coming to the meetings.

“Everybody in Rotary in the state knew Edley,” Kirklin said. “Everybody is going to be effected by this because everybody knew him.”

Ken Rector called Jones dedicated and the reason Vicksburg’s Rotary Club has continued for so many years.

“I’m not sure we would have a Rotary Club today if it weren’t for Edley,” Rector said. “He has really been the glue that has held that club together all these years.”

Jones enjoyed staying fit and spent almost everyday at the YMCA lifting weights or playing volleyball. He served on both the board of directors and the board of trustees for the Vicksburg YMCA.

“He was very active and supportive of the YMCA, serving on the board of directors, and a daily attendee,” said Herb Wilkinson, interim Vicksburg YMCA executive director. “He came to the Y nearly everyday. He was very fitness oriented.”

A Vicksburg native, Jones attended Carr Central High School before going to the University of Mississippi, where he met his wife Lucy. Together, the couple has three children Tupper, Edley III and Howell, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Jones worked in insurance for 55 years and also owned a travel agency with his wife. The couple were well known and liked in the community, and they regularly hosted parties at their home. They liked to be on the go and traveled often.

Marian Ingram grew up across the street from the Jones family. She remembers Jones hanging from a tree branch watching her family move into their house. As adults, Ingram said she and her husband spent a lot of time with Edley and Lucy playing cards and going out on his boat. Ingram said he was devoted to his wife first and then Rotary.

Jones was really known for his sense of humor.

Rector said Jones wore the suit from his wedding to the annual YMCA board of directors Christmas lunch every year.

“That’s what people know Edley by is his unique wit,” Kirklin said. “His humor that cannot be touched by anyone else.”

In addition to Jones’ wit, Wilkinson will remember his friendship.

“He was a friend to many, well liked, with a sold strong character. A man of integrity,” Wilkinson said.

Jones had been in good health until a tumor was found on his spine after a car accident. Complications from chemotherapy treatments led him to develop pneumonia and put him in the hospital.

Visitation will be Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in McInnis Parish Hall at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Vicksburg with the funeral service following at 11 a.m.