Joanna Ching-Ping Wong Jones
February 12, 1953 — February 14, 2021
Joanna Jones was born on February 12, 1953, in Hong Kong, which was then a British colony. She was born Joanna Ching-Ping Wong to Chi Chung Wong (father) and Ching Hok Tseng (mother). She passed away on February 14, 2021, at Baylor All Saints Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, from complications following kidney transplant surgery.
On Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, a service was held for the inurnment of her cremains in the Columbarium at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, TX, where she and Bill have been members since 2004. Senior Pastor George Mason presided and delivered a beautiful eulogy that perfectly characterized Joanna’s life, her faith, and her love for all people, especially her family.
Joanna is survived by her husband, Bill; her children, Alison Clements (Adam) and Travis; four grandchildren, Avery Clements, Anderson Clements, Scarlet Jones, and Aden Clements; her mother, Ching Hok Tseng; two sisters, Rossana Soo (David, deceased) and Betty Yeung (Albert); her brother, Hiu Wong (Lily); five nieces and three nephews; and sister-in-law Patsy Jones McCown (Palmer).
Joanna was preceded in death by her father, Chi Chung Wong; her brother, Jovan Wong; and her nephew, Wilkie Soo.
She grew up in a loving family, with her parents, four siblings, and her grandma, who taught her to cook. Through the years, she always looked forward to opportunities to gather with her family in Hong Kong and Ontario, Canada. Those were also special opportunities for her husband and children to draw closer to her family and to gain a greater appreciation for the Chinese culture in which she had grown up.
Joanna was married for over 44 years to Bill (William Jason) Jones. They met as students at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) in Shawnee, in the fall of 1972, soon after Joanna entered as a freshman studying Accounting. Bill, a senior, was one of several American students asked that fall to pledge the university’s Chinese Student Association (CSA) as a new member. The initiation rite was for the American students to learn to speak Cantonese; each one was assigned a Chinese student, called a “big sister” or “big brother,” to teach them. Warren Lee, the CSA president, assigned Joanna as Bill’s “big sister.” They started meeting regularly, and Joanna was such a good teacher that Bill won the Cantonese-speaking contest.
Soon after the party to celebrate the induction of the new CSA members, Bill called Joanna and asked her for a date, and she said yes. Their first date was on the evening of January 20, 1973, to watch an OBU basketball game, followed by a walk over to The Grubsteak, a sub-sandwich place just off-campus, for a bite to eat. After Joanna graduated, they were married on September 4, 1976, at University Baptist Church, across the street from the OBU campus, in a ceremony conducted by Bill’s father, Rev. A. Jase Jones, who was assisted by Rev. Jerry L. Barnes, pastor of University Baptist Church and a great friend and influence in Bill’s life.
They had a loving marriage in which they were truly partners in every sense and always each other’s best friend. They simply loved each other’s company, being together and doing things together.
In August 1981, Joanna professed Christ as her Lord and Savior, and was baptized the following week at University Hills Baptist Church in Denver, CO, by the pastor, Rev. Davis Cooper. She was carrying their first child, Alison, who would be born on December 1, so Rev. Cooper joked that this was the first “infant baptism” he had ever performed.
Their second child, Travis, was born on November 25, 1985.
In November 1976, only two months after their wedding, Joanna received an offer to join Mobil Oil Corporation as a financial analyst. This turned out to be a great blessing in many ways, as Joanna was able to stay with Mobil (eventually ExxonMobil, after the merger of the two companies) for 34½ years until retirement in March 2011. It was a financial blessing for Bill and Joanna, and was also a blessing for the opportunity it gave Joanna to develop and demonstrate her skills and abilities, and for the many wonderful friendships she made with her colleagues over the years, many of which grew even stronger after her retirement.
In 1984, she celebrated two outstanding accomplishments: (1) her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license; and (2) U. S. citizenship. She worked and studied hard for both of these. She was always a diligent student.
Joanna and Bill were particularly blessed in recent years by their membership in Wilshire Baptist Church of Dallas. Upon joining Wilshire in 2004, they found a pastor, George Mason, who loved them and whose sermons and example inspired and challenged them, as well as the Epiphany Sunday School class, who have loved them and given them an opportunity to grow and be challenged in their Christian faith.
Joanna had a particular passion for giving to help people in need. One of her favorite activities – for many years until her sickness, and then COVID, intervened in 2020 – was for her and Bill to meet other Epiphany class members, once a quarter, at the Genesis women’s shelter in Dallas to take and serve breakfast to the women and children housed there. She had a heart for those who were hurting. She especially loved sitting down with the women and children at Genesis, as they ate, and listening to their stories and letting them know she cared about them. (and they loved eating the sausage-and-egg casserole that she always made for these occasions)
Joanna took special pride in her children and grandchildren. Her favorite times were those spent with the family, whether celebrating special occasions or simply getting together to eat and talk.
She also took great pride in her Chinese heritage and worked hard to pass that on to her children and grandchildren, especially when it came to enjoying Chinese cooking. She was an outstanding cook, and she also enjoyed taking the family to her favorite Chinese restaurants. She especially enjoyed the family trip to her native Hong Kong in December 1990, when Alison and Travis were little, to stay with her parents in their flat. Then, in October 2019, she took great pleasure in taking their daughter, Alison, and oldest grandchild, Avery, on a “girls’ trip” to Hong Kong to see family and enjoy the culture and cooking of Hong Kong up close.
She and Bill enjoyed traveling together in the years after she retired in March 2011, going to Hong Kong and Beijing that fall, then Israel in 2012, Italy in 2015, and a 40th-anniversary trip in September 2016, flying to Portland, Maine, and driving down through the New England states, culminating in a visit to Washington, D.C. Wonderful times, treasured memories!
In January 2021, Joanna spoke out, during a Sunday School class discussion, on the fear and pain that she was feeling as an Asian woman in America, as many in the country were wrongly blaming Asians for COVID, resulting in hatred and violence – on the part of many in America – toward Asian Americans. She said that she worried every time she set foot outside of her house, even in her own neighborhood, that she might be targeted by such hatred and violence. The passion in her voice moved her husband and other members of her Sunday School class. Immediately after the class, Bill told her, choking back tears, “Babe, I am so very proud of you.”
On the Sunday that she died, the class spent the entire hour sharing memories of Joanna and how she had touched their lives. They particularly remembered the lesson that she had taught them only weeks before her death. One friend emailed Bill that evening, writing, “When you ‘talk’ to Joanna – and I know you will – please thank her for the most powerful Sunday School class I have sat through in my 70 years.”
Joanna leaves a legacy of unconditional love for all people, caring for those in need, and courage in speaking out for those whose voices are rarely heard. She was the heart and soul of our family gatherings, and we miss her. She and Bill were the loves of each other’s lives, and that will never change.