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Ron Jones

     Ron Jones is a semi-retired minister, an ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He lives in White Stone with his wife of 37 years, Lois, who teaches four year olds in Northumberland County.

     He is a native of Preston County, West Virginia, and was graduated from Grafton High School and Fairmont State College, a leading teacher preparation school. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree in 1962 with a double majoróBiological Science and English. He taught in secondary schools in West Virginia and was recognized as the Outstanding Young Teacher in 1964. After he and his wife relocated to Fincastle, Virginia, in 1966, he became head of the Science Department and Assistant Principal at a middle school.

     During his nine year career he taught a wide range of subjects from Girl's and Boy's Physical Education and Driver Education/Safety to Biology, Science 7, 8, and 9 and English 7, 8, 9 and 11. He also directed plays for high school junior and senior classes.

     He has been a dedicated naturalist and ornithologist over the years and has seen and identified dozens of species of birds. His skills were honed in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the Pennsylvania and Maryland borders near his birthplace. He is descended from an early German settler in Virginia, Jost Heigt, who came to America in 1710, and a Huguenot family named Balliet that came shortly after the American revolution. Of course, his name indicates a Welsh strand but the origins are murky.

     He resigned from his teaching and administrative job in 1970. He had been trained and was hired as an associate for a life insurance company from 1969 to 1971 when he received a call to ministry. He served United Methodist congregations in Blacksburg and Christiansburg before entering seminary in 1974 at Duke Divinity School. He was a student pastor in North Carolina and chaired the Student Pastorsí Association during his seminary years. He was graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1978 and was ordained as a full member of the Virginia Conference in 1979. He was forced into disability leave in July 2001 after 30 years of service.

     Over the years he had written hundreds of sermons and had experienced an amazing life that took him to five of the eighteen districts in the Virginia Conference where he served in ten different settings. He was sent to the Rappahannock District in 1989 and has served in White Stone, Callao, Montross and Reedville.
His goal was to be active in ministry both in his assigned church area but also to the larger connection of churches. Along the way he served as a member of the corporate board, chairman of the Personnel Committee, and treasurer of the Wesley Housing Development Corporation in Northern Virginia. He was secretary of the Ministerial Association of the Alexandria District and was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Camp High Road. In the Rappahannock District he was President of the Ministers' Association, Chairman of the Education Committee, Chairman of the District Council on Ministries. He was longtime secretary of the District Board of Ordained Ministry where his term ended in December 2001. He continues to serve as secretary of the District Board of Church Location and Building. He was dean of the Leadership Training Workshop for the district in 1994. He served as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the Virginia Conference Chapter of the Duke Divinity School Alumni Association, 1990-1993.

     Health problems developed in the early 1980's and culminated with End Stage Renal Disease in 1993, when he was forced to go onto dialysis. In 1995, he was able to receive a kidney transplant from his wife. He experienced nerve damage in his feet that led to his disability. He is limited in his mobility but enjoys working in his yard and garden on the one-acre lot he purchased in 1991, in White Stone. The Joneses fell in love with the Northern Neck that led to the decision to retire there. They have named their property "The Jones' Anchorage at Twin Oaks".

     Ron's interest in writing arose in his youth when he developed a deep interest in words. He was involved in writing copy for his high school annual and wrote for the college newspaper "The Columns". He wrote a textbook for use by his students in safety class and later assembled a student text for confirmands. He wrote articles through the years that were published in newspapers and magazines. Then there was the mass of sermons over 30 years.

     He met the editor/publisher of Chesapeake Style at a health consciousness class in 1998, and complimented her on the magazine but commented that he noted that there were no religion columns. When asked if he would like to write one, he jumped at the chance. His articles have been biographies of religious leaders in the area, stories about historic churches and stories about persons who have made a difference in the lives of Northern Neck residents. In more recent articles he has enlightened the readers through Focus on Business.

     Ron and Lois have three children who live in Virginia and four grandchildren who enjoy coming to visit so they can take boat rides on the Bay. They also have two dogs and two cats who were once the focus of one of his articles on Animal Antics. They now share the property with a large colony of squirrels and a hoard of song birds which come to eat at his feeders.

     Ron and Lois built their retirement home in the spring of 2001 and intend to remain here until the time when their ashes are interred at White Stone United Methodist Cemetery. They are busy assisting in ministry at Kilmarnock UMC where Ron teaches an occasional Sunday School Class and is teaching an occasional series on United Methodist history and theology. He is called on to assist in dramatic presentations of sermons by the pastor. He also preaches for ministers who are away from their pulpits. He and Lois have and will continue to be workers in summer vacation retreats for handicapped citizens.
Among his hobbies are singing and both he and Lois are members of the Festival Halle Chorus in Reedville. He is known to have sung a solo and duet now and then with this chorus. He also enjoys taking nature photographs. He is embarking on a cane-making period carving decorative handles for these utilitarian walking sticks. He volunteers as chaplain at Rappahannock General Hospital and the local nursing homes.

     Ron finds great pleasure in writing for this magazine and to be a part of such an august group of fellow writers. It is a very fulfilling experience to be associated with this group and he hopes to continue for a long time. Readers may contact Ron Jones at rjones@chesapeakestyle.com


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