Other Notable Deaths


April 26, 2009


Mentor of young Hillary Rodham

Drew University professor and Methodist minister Donald G. Jones, who was spiritual mentor for future first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, died Thursday at age 78.

University spokesman David Muha said Dr. Jones - who taught social ethics for 36 years at the New Jersey school - died at Morristown Memorial Hospital of natural causes.

Dr. Jones served in the Navy and then attended Augustana College in South Dakota and graduated in 1957. Four years later, he became an ordained minister through Drew's theological school.

His first pastorate was at First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge, Ill., where he met a young Hillary Rodham while leading the church's youth group. At the time, Miss Rodham was a high school freshman.

Colleagues said Dr. Jones introduced his students to a world outside of what they knew, such as taking them to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preach in Chicago in 1962. He resigned after two years due to concerns about what some considered to be controversial methods.

"He loves [Hillary], and she loves him," Charles Courtney, a retired Drew professor and a friend of Dr. Jones, told the Daily Record of Morristown, N.J. "He was pretty formative for her. ... He exposed her to some wider horizons than she was getting in conservative Park Ridge."

After leaving his minister's post, Dr. Jones returned to Drew to teach and earn his doctorate, but he and Miss Rodham remained close friends. In her memoir, Living History, she credits Dr. Jones with being a major influence in her life.

Mrs. Clinton said she was deeply saddened to hear of the minister's death.

"Don taught me the meaning of the words 'faith in action' and the importance of social justice and human rights," she said in a statement. "I will miss him and will be grateful forever for the gift of his intelligence, counsel, kindness and support over many years."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.