Rev. George W. Jones, 76, postal clerk and educator

October 26, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

The Rev. George W. Jones, a former postal clerk who went on to become an assistant school principal and later a Disciples of Christ pastor, died of cancer Sunday at his Catonsville home. He was 76.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, he moved to Baltimore after World War II service as an Army clerk-typist and Teletype operator who was known for his ability to type 120 words per minute.

In Baltimore, he took a job with the Postal Service and at its Druid Hill branch was among the first African-Americans to work at a customer window. He was a postal clerk and supervisor, and also continued his education. He earned undergraduate degrees in sociology at then-Morgan State College and in education at Coppin State College.

Mr. Jones joined the city public school system in 1961 as a sixth-grade teacher at School No. 48A at Bentalou and Saratoga streets.

"He was more than just a teacher. He was like a family man who loved the children," said Steven Walter Jackson, a former student who lives in Reisterstown. "He was a good disciplinarian. ... He taught the young fellas [to] be respectful of the young ladies in our class. And when the day was over, he taught us to play baseball -- and to play by the rules."

Mr. Jones earned a master's degree in education from Loyola College in 1965, and in 1968 was named head of the English department at Garrison Junior High School, where he remained for seven years. After a stint teaching adult education at Dunbar High School, he was named assistant principal of Roland Park Junior High. He retired in 1983 as assistant principal at Greenspring Junior High.

During that period, he also took up studies in religion, earning a master's degree in pastoral theology at Howard University in Washington and a doctorate in the field from Drew University in Madison, N.J., in 1992. His dissertation was titled "An Experiment to Develop Leadership Potential of Youth."

In 1967, he became part-time pastor of Second Christian Church in Hagerstown, and in 1971 at 12th Street Christian Church in Washington. From 1983 to 1998, he was senior minister of Baltimore's Mount Olivet Christian Church in the 800 block of W. Lanvale St.

"He was a mentor to young clergy," said the Rev. L.D. Colvin Jr., pastor of Ron Brown Memorial Christian Chapel in Woodlawn. "He was regal -- a man of distinction, high standards and ethics, who took an interest in current events and in debates in the scientific field. And at the same time, he was a gentle man."

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Christian Temple, 5820 Edmondson Ave.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Frances L. Walker; three daughters, Marsha M. Johnson of Aurora, Colo., Cynthia E. Sorrell of Ellicott City and Charlotte C. Jackson of Reisterstown; a brother, Charles Jones of Roswell, N.M.; and five grandchildren.

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