James Lowell “Jim” Jones, 71, Nixa, Missouri, formerly of Mt. Vernon, Missouri, died June 9, 2022, following a lengthy illness. He was born September 23, 1950, in Maryville, Missouri, the son of the late Darrell and Virginia “Fern” (Barnett) Jones.
He attended the rural Yale Elementary School and graduated in 1968 from Fairfax High School, Fairfax, Missouri, where he was active in athletics as well as church and academics. Following high school he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, then attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. Later on in life, he earned a Master’s Degree and an Education Specialist degree from the former SMS, now MSU. He was ordained as a Southern Baptist Minister in 1970. While attending seminary, he taught at the St. Mary Catholic School in Ft. Worth.
He married Elise “Junie” Russell July 17, 1971. The family moved to Fairfax in 1973, where he taught, coached, and drove a school bus for six years. In 1979, the family moved to rural Mt. Vernon, and he began a lengthy career with the Aurora R-8 School District. He taught in an elementary classroom for a number of years, then at the beginning of the 1990-1991 school year he was named principal at Lowell Elementary School in the Aurora system. Later, at the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year, he was promoted to assistant superintendent, a position he held until his retirement June 30, 2004, after 31 years as an educator. Not just a teacher, Mr. Jones was an educator. Whether exciting students about science while dissecting cows’ eyes or leading education professionals to become better teachers, he was passionate about learning at all levels.
He had many skills outside the classroom. He and his father-in-law constructed the home in rural Mt. Vernon in which the Jones family grew. He was focused on making his hobby farm show a profit. He collected tractors – mostly red ones – until his wife started naming them. When she named one after an area divorce lawyer, he sold that one quickly and made sure to justify the existence of any more acquisitions. He was a Master Mason in the Masonic Lodge, one of the Witt Brothers Association, Rotarian and active in his church. He joined the First Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon in 1979, and through the years served as Deacon, on several committees, Sunday school teacher, and leader of the Royal Ambassadors where he coordinated multiple Pinewood Derby events.
Survivors include his wife, Elise “Junie” Jones of the home; sons, Eric (EJ) and wife, Cassandra, of Nixa, and Eran (Evan) and wife, Da, of Conway, Arkansas; daughter, Elise and husband, Todd Hege, of Nixa; six grandchildren, Bailey, Cooper, Mark and Erin (Ellie) Jones and Thomas and William Hege; one brother, Richard and wife, Debbie Jones, of Fairfax; two sisters, Marilyn and husband, Leon Reed, of Fairfax, and Kathryn and husband, Steve Deckard, of Marshfield, Missouri; and a host of extended family, associates and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Darrell and Fern Jones and a brother, Gary Jones.
A visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, 2022, at the Fossett-Mosher Funeral Home in Mt. Vernon. A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 17, 2022, at the First Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon. A private burial will be held at the Mt. Vernon IOOF cemetery. In lieu of flowers (your choice) memorials are suggested to the Ronald McDonald House or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in care of the funeral home. Online condolences may be shared at www.FossettMosherFuneralHome.com.