Wilbert Percy Jones, 87, dining car steward, official of union, church organizer

July 21, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Wilbert Percy Jones, a retired dining car steward, union official and church organizer, died of pneumonia July 14 at Villa St. Michael Nursing and Retirement Center in Northwest Baltimore. He was 87.

Mr. Jones, who lived on Liberty Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore, worked on the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's dining cars for many years until the line discontinued serving meals on its trains. He retired as an Amtrak food service master in 1976.

Born in Gloucester, Va., he was a 1931 graduate of Douglass High School. In 1933, he attended the New York School of Funeral Directing and Restorative Arts and worked with funeral directors there until 1936, when he returned to Baltimore and joined the B&O as a dining car waiter.

In 1941, he was made waiter-in-charge, working on trains to Jersey City, N.J., Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Chicago, and the racetrack specials to Delaware Park and Charlestown, W.Va.

In 1945, he helped organize his fellow workers into Local 320 of the United Transport Workers Union. Over the years, he served as the local's president and held other offices.

In 1943, he married Lucy Holt. They later divorced.

In 1954, he married Harriet Bowling White, a retired Baltimore County social worker, who survives him.

He and his wife were among the organizers of Baltimore's Northwest Congregational Church in 1963, now known as Heritage United Church of Christ. He served as deacon, trustee and board chairman.

He and his wife enjoyed entertaining at their home and giving card parties.

A memorial service is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 29 at Heritage United Church of Christ, 3106 Liberty Heights Ave.

He also is survived by a stepson, Humphrey Bowling White of Nashville, Tenn.; two daughters, Carol Reed Jones and Pamela Beryl Jones, both of Los Angeles; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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