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Richard Payne Jones

Richard Payne Jones, of Vicksburg, died peacefully at home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Sept. 5. 

The consummate “Southern Gentleman” – earnest and urbane — Jones was a distinguished media executive; a champion of arts and music; a sportsman; a gardener and a travel enthusiast. He spent his adult years in New York and South Florida. Known to friends and family as “Dick,” Jones was 105.

Jones attended preparatory school at Woodberry Forest School, in Orange, Va. His athletic endeavors at school centered around track, tennis and golf. Jones planned to matriculate to Princeton University, but the Great Depression devastated family finances and ended his plans for a college education.

Jones went to work for D’Arcy Advertising Company in St. Louis, Mo. as a field service representative in its outdoor advertising division, working on the Coca-Cola account. 

His life was upended again by the attack on Pearl Harbor. He spent just over four years in the U.S. Naval Reserves. 

In September of 1949, Dick was hired by Leo Burnett in Chicago to establish an outdoor advertising unit, eventually becoming an account representative. Though achieving great success with D’Arcy and Burnett, Dick aspired to move to a top agency in New York, which at the time was the hub of the advertising business.

In 1955, that aspiration was realized when Dick was asked to join the J. Walter Thompson Company. By 1958, Dick was named vice president and in 1960, director of media. He became senior vice president and media director in 1972. 

Recognized as one of the leading media executives in the advertising business, he served as a member of the Board of Governors of the International Radio and Television Society, Chairman of the Board of the Traffic Audit Bureau, President of the Media Directors Council, Chairman of the Magazine and Newspaper Committees of the 4-A’s.

Following his retirement, Mr. Jones split his time between his Long Island country home in Water Mill, and Key West, sharing his life for 48 years with his partner, Dominique Del Monte. In retirement, he continued to play golf and tennis, and was introduced to, and fell in love with, classical music.

After Dominique’s death in 2002, Dick moved to Pompano Beach, Fla., where he has lived for the last 17 years.

He will be interred next to his parents at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in his hometown of Vicksburg.