Former Luzerne County Commissioner Joseph “Red” Jones, Dallas, died peacefully in his sleep at Mercy Center Nursing Center on July 17, 2017.
Born April 2, 1938, he was the son of the late Oswald and Josephine (Tovey) Jones. “Red” was a 1956 graduate of Harter High School where he was a standout athlete in basketball and baseball. After high school, he proudly served in the U. S. Marine Corps.
“Red” was a highly successful basketball coach at St. Vincent’s High School in Plymouth, where his teams won multiple league and Class C championships. He was proud that his teams earned four consecutive Wyoming Valley Officials Sportsmanship Awards. Red also coached at St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton and College Misericordia.
“Red” was a well-known square-dance caller for over 50 years and was considered by many to be among the best in the state. During that time, he helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable organizations and causes. Over the years, he was associated with a number of nonprofits, including the Catholic Youth Center, Harveys Lake Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus, Ballet Northeast, The Arthritis Foundation and the Luzerne County Republican Party. He was also a longtime volunteer at Mercy Center.
“Red” served on the Lake-Lehman School Board for 14 years and was a passionate advocate for education and the students of the district. He went on to serve as a county commissioner in 1996. During his time in office, he put progress over politics and worked with his fellow commissioners to help bring the arena to completion, improve the levee system, expand Luzerne County Community College, and modernize the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
Throughout his working career, he held several sales and management positions and retired as an aide to state Rep. George Hasay. In 2016, “Red” was inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame and the Lake-Lehman “Knights of the Roundtable” Society. Above all things, “Red” Jones was known as a servant, leader and as a caring friend to many.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Marie Ann Conrad, as well as his brother Thomas. Surviving are his daughter, Nancy George and her husband, George, of Lehman Township; son, Bill and his wife, Janet, of Mountain Top; daughter, Linda Bell and her husband, Robert, of Cumming, Ga.; and son, Bobby and his wife, Amy, of New Jersey. He is also survived by his brothers, Donald, of Jackson Township, and Bill, Kingston. “Red” has four grandchildren, Caroline and Rachel Jones and Madison and Erica Bell.
Funeral services were held at Gate of Heaven Church, Machell Avenue, Dallas.
Memorial donations can be made to United Way of Wyoming Valley at 100 N. Pennsylvania Blvd., Second Floor, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701.