Helen S. Jones, Howard County farmer, dies

She had owned Bowling Green Farm with her husband

  • Helen S. Jones
Helen S. Jones
March 09, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Helen S. Jones, a Howard County farmer and community activist, died Feb. 27 of complications from an infection at Bowling Green, her West Friendship farm. She was 96.

Helen Stromberg, the daughter of farmers, was born and raised on a farm in Marriottsville. After graduating from West Friendship High School in 1931, she earned a teaching degree three years later from what is now Towson University.

She married her high school sweetheart, Ridgely Jones, in 1935 and moved to the 320-acre Bowling Green Farm, which had been in his family since 1730.

Mrs. Jones taught fourth grade at the McDonogh School until the birth of her first child in the mid-1930s.

"After that, she was a full-time farm wife, raising chickens, milking cows and keeping the books for the farm," said her daughter, Ann Holmes Jones of Ellicott City.

"She loved the farm life. As she said, 'No two days are ever the same on the farm,'" said Ms. Jones. "And she loved the land, and the fact that she could pass that love on to her family where the 10th generation continues to farm Bowling Green."

She and her husband were long active in civic affairs, advocating for policies that would preserve agricultural land in Howard County. When Mr. Jones was nominated to serve as a member of the first Howard County Council in 1968, she was his secretary and confidante.

"They were a regular fixture at County Council meetings for close to 40 years," Ms. Jones said.

Mr. Jones died in 1996.

During the 1960s, Mrs. Jones served as a member of the Howard County Board of Education's Citizens' Curriculum Commission. She was co-chair of the language arts section, where she advocated for small class sizes and exposure to classical literature.

She was an active PTA member and a longtime member of the League of Women Voters. She had also been a volunteer and president of the Howard County Historical Society and during her tenure as president led the way in the acquisition of the Wier Building, which houses the society's library.

She also had served as a member of the Social Services Board of Howard County, which helped improve nutrition of county residents.

Mrs. Jones was an avid reader and ballroom dancer.

She attended St. James United Methodist Church, where services were held Friday.

"In a somewhat interesting twist, we took her coffin from the church to the farm, where we have a family graveyard, in a tractor and wagon," said Ms. Jones. "If there was one thing Mom loved, it was the farm."

Also surviving are a son, J. Philip Jones of Sykesville; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Her son, John Ridgely Jones, died in 1985.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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