Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Ulysses Jones Jr. remembered
Those who celebrated the life and legacy of state Rep. Ulysses Jones Jr. on Monday at Hope Presbyterian Church were told to keep their expressions to two minutes. But friends and colleagues took more time to tell their personal stories about Jones' work ethics and love for the constituents he served.
The sentiments were pretty much the same: Jones worked diligently for Memphis and his constituents in District 98 (North Memphis, Raleigh and Frayser); he didn't seek acclaim or possess a haughty spirit; he was a man of his words; he fought to uplift the downtrodden.
The eulogist, Rev. Robert Mason, pastor of Greater Middle Baptist Church, noted Jones' rise from humble beginnings to become a battalion chief with the Memphis Fire Department and a respected lawmaker.
He said Jones was a servant who didn't seek acclaim.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. compared the lawmaker to the early disciples of Jesus Christ, saying he had a calling, just like the disciples, that intersected with his day job. "He was multidimensional," Wharton told the crowd of about 250 people, many of them fellow legislators and firefighters.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell Jr. recalled a time when he was sheriff and sought support from a top lawmaker in the Tennessee General Assembly. "I was told to see Rep. Jones," he said, realizing there was a pecking order.
Dr. Willie W. Herenton, former mayor of Memphis, said Jones was a good man who took care of Memphis, a man of his words. He said the lawmaker respected him and would tell him if a bill wasn't going to cut the muster.
Shep Wilbun, a longtime friend, spoke on behalf of the North Memphis Round Table, a group of political activists, of which Jones was a member. A former Shelby County commissioner, city councilman, and Juvenile Court clerk, Wilbun said it was Jones who first encouraged him to run for political office.
But no one expected the children of Jones to speak about their father. "I love my daddy... I was his princess," said Victoria Olivia, trying to get past the tears.
Ulysses Jones III said while he and his father didn't agree on some things, he loved him just the same. "I loved my father and he loved me."
Jones was 59.