Carl Hardy Jones, Jr., husband, father and grandfather, brother, cousin, and friend, departed this life at 70 on Thursday, June 25, 2020, at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine, Florida. His was a life lived boldly and fully. Though his passing from this earth – to those left behind (for now) – to mourn him was sudden and far too soon, his mark on the hearts of those who love him, still, is indelible. His infectious laughter and his voice – rich, well-projected, radio-quality – still rings in our ears.
From his birth in Accomack County, Virginia, on January 14, 1950, until his death, he beat a path all his own, loved his family devotedly, made and treasured friendships, and accumulated enough life adventures to say from time to time that no matter when he “went,” he couldn’t say he hadn’t “lived.”
His parents, the late Reverend Carl Hardy Jones, Sr., and Lorraine Fisher Jones, raised him in Lunenburg County, Virginia, where he received much of his education. He attended both the former Kenbridge Graded School and – for a brief period during part of his high school years – his mother’s high school alma mater, Mary Nottingham Smith High School, in Accomack County, Virginia. He received the majority of his secondary education from Lunenburg High School, the school where his parents taught and served in the school’s administration. He graduated from Lunenburg High School in 1968. As a young boy, he received holy baptism at St. Matthew’s Baptist Church in Kenbridge, Virginia. He was a Cub Scout in his boyhood, and, during high school, sang in the choir, wrote and acted in a play, co-wrote the lyrics to his Lunenburg High School class song (“… to Lunenburg with love”), and played football (#25, position, halfback, for the “Blue Devils,” according to the 1966 “Torch” yearbook).
After high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, in which he served between 1968 and his honorable discharge in 1976 – a period of service encompassing time spent overseas during the war in Vietnam. After his time overseas, he returned home to the United States and, for a brief period of one semester, enrolled in and attended college at his parents’ alma mater, then known as Virginia State College (now, Virginia State University, in Ettrick, Virginia).
He then continued his military service. Stateside, his various duty stations included Homestead Air Force Base, Florida; Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Langley Air Force Base, Virginia; and Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. He also continued artistic pursuits during his time in the U.S. Air Force, singing in a jazz band, and writing multiple plays for productions staged on-base.
Among his professional experiences and life milestones during the 1970s, Carl worked as a hospital dietician, and met and married, on July 15, 1972, his first wife, Winnie Faye Lynn. Two children were born of that marriage, which lasted sixteen years: Rahsaan Jamal Jones, born while Carl and Winnie were assigned to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and Tulani Nakiyah Jones, born in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Two later marriages, to Marva Ford Chukes (in 1992), and to Tiashana Kenon (in 2000), also ended in divorce.
In addition to family life and fatherhood, he pursued both work and education (including through coursework at Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, Florida). His head for numbers, his driven, high-energy personality, and his willingness to dive into challenging – often high-stress – work carried him through multiple jobs and professional experiences, often involving management or sales.
Among other professional endeavors over the course of his life, Carl sold life insurance; managed restaurants; sold cars – once rising among the car dealership sales ranks to become a well-known and well-respected finance manager at Tallahassee Ford in Tallahassee, Florida; became a mortgage broker; and drove 18-wheeled trucks across the continental United States. His many years spent working in various aspects of the “car business” were a particular source of great pride, memories, and excitement in his life, and truly constituted a life-long career for him. Though he endured a number of health challenges during the last decade or so of his life, he remained active and engaged in the “car business” until the end, sometimes working on contract during his last years, moving cars between sometimes far-flung dealerships in Florida, Georgia, and elsewhere; for as long as he could, Carl enjoyed the drives and travel opportunities these assignments afforded him.
Carl was an outstanding cook; a once-avid, left-handed golfer; a doting grandfather; a playful, mischievous brother; a caring cousin; a fun-loving friend; and many other wonderful things, to those of us who treasure his memory.
Among those who treasured (and who will continue to treasure) him are his wife since 2014, Barbara Lee Fitzgerald Jones; his children, Rahsaan Jamal Jones and Tulani Nakiyah Jones; his daughter-in-law, Lavonia Sampson Jones; his stepchildren, Todd Greenleaf (Rachel), Traci Greenleaf Mack (Anthony), and Scotti Greenleaf; his sisters, Cheryl Lorraine Jones, Lisa LaNelle Jones, and Rhonda Maria Craig; his brother, Eric Holland Jones; his brother-in-law, Charles Randy Craig; his grandchildren, Ahlysha Rahsaan Jones, Joshua Jo Nathan Jones, Ahkira Tulani Jones, Khalif Jamal Jones, and Benjamin Jamal Jones; 3 nieces and a nephew; and a host of other loving relatives and friends.