Marvin Edward Jones Sr., a retired Westinghouse personnel specialist who spent his life helping people on the job and as a volunteer, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday at North Arundel Hospital in Glen Burnie. He was 71.
A former state school board member and longtime community activist, Mr. Jones worked for 35 years in human resources at Westinghouse Defense and Electronic Systems Center.
For several years, his job took him to company offices in Indiana and Pennsylvania, but he spent most of his career in Maryland, hiring people and helping employees in their quests for promotion to more demanding jobs. His wife, the former Shirley Jackson, said he enjoyed offering professional guidance and encouraging the discouraged.
In 1986, he was awarded the company's highest honor, the Westinghouse Order of Merit, she said. He retired in 1995 as vice president of human resources for the Westinghouse Defense Electronic Center.
An ardent believer in the importance of community outreach, the Glen Burnie resident volunteered on the executive boards of many groups, from the Anne Arundel County YMCA to the Woodside West Neighborhood Association. He also served as a member of the state Board of Education during the 1990s, helping to oversee policy decisions affecting hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren.
At his death, he was chairman of Camp Farthest Out, an outreach program of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore that lets underprivileged children from the city spend some time in rural Carroll County.
"He was the kind of person who never said `no,'" recalled his wife. "He enjoyed helping people out."
His daughter, Carla Jones of Baltimore, said people with financial troubles approached him for help. Sometimes his loans were repaid; sometimes they weren't. He never made a fuss about it, she said.
"He had a special sparkle in his eye and a bright smile," she said. "People just loved him. He was very magnetic."
Born in Blackstone, Va., Mr. Jones moved to Baltimore at age 12 and graduated with honors from Dunbar Senior High School in 1949, his family said. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Morgan State University in 1954 and later took graduate-level courses at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
He served in the Army in 1955 as a finance and accounting officer. Afterward, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Baltimore, as a vocational services secretary for the Baltimore Urban League and as a caseworker for the city's Department of Social Services.
In their youth, he and his wife were next-door neighbors in West Baltimore. They became childhood sweethearts and had plans to wed long before they did so in 1952.
"We went together for seven years," Mrs. Jones said. "When we first wanted to get married, our parents said, `Well, just wait until you finished high school and college and get a job.' So that's what we did."
Services will be held at noon Wednesday at Douglas Memorial Community Church, Lafayette and Madison avenues in Baltimore.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Jones is survived by a son, Marvin Jones Jr. of Egypt; two brothers, Morris Jones and Thomas Jones of Baltimore; a sister, Irene Moulden of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.