2012 Top Stories: #6: Senator Jones succumbsPublished 9:58am Wednesday, January 2, 2013
ENFIELD — A true public servant who touched so many lives through various jobs in local and state government lost his battle with cancer on Dec. 14.
North Carolina State Senator Edward Walter (“Ed”) Jones died at his home in Enfield. The 62-year-old was diagnosed earlier this year with pancreatic cancer.
Funeral services were held on Dec. 22 at Halifax Community College in Weldon. He was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Enfield.
Locally, Roanoke-Chowan area leaders paused to reflect on the life of a man that committed so much time and energy in improving the quality of life of those from all walks of life.
Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins expressed his sympathy to Sen. Jones’s loved ones.
“Certainly, I offer deep condolences to Sen. Jones’s family on behalf of the (Northampton County) Board of Commissioners and the citizens of the county,” he said. “It’s a tragic, tragic loss.”
Jenkins noted Jones many years of public service in the area and across the state, and described him as a dedicated public servant. He added he called on Jones many times and Jones never shied away from offering his assistance.
“He will be sorely missed,” Jenkins said.
Windsor Mayor Jim Hoggard said he and his town board were saddened by the death of Sen. Jones.
“Senator Ed Jones was a friend of the town of Windsor and its people,” Hoggard said. “He was always there with us to celebrate in good times and to assist in times we were in need. We are truly saddened by his death.”
Hoggard said when the town was flooded due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole, Jones spent an entire day in the command center with the officials in Windsor and Bertie County.
“We didn’t ask that of him, he simply did it,” Hoggard said. “He helped us through red tape that was sometimes in the way of us taking care of our citizens. He always did his best to make sure we received help during that time of need.”
Hertford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Curtis A. Freeman said he worked with Senator Jones both as a legislator and when Jones served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
“First of all, my deepest sympathies go to his family,” Freeman said. “I know this is a hard time for them right now. Senator Jones worked all his life for the citizens he served. He did that in the Highway Patrol and then in the General Assembly. He will be greatly missed.”
Among Jones’ numerous political allies was NC House Representative Michael Wray of Gaston. At one time the two served together in the House.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my very good friend and colleague Senator Ed Jones,” Wray said. “Ed was one of the most influential people in my life, both personally and professionally and I am a better person for having known him. He was a mentor, a colleague and a loyal friend and I will miss him deeply.”
Wray also remembered Jones as a man who loved his family, the people of Halifax County, the citizens of his district and all of North Carolina.
“Ed Jones was deeply devoted to his family, committed to his community and our state and will be missed for years to come,” he said. “Please keep the Ed Jones family in your thoughts and prayers in their time of sorrow as they deal with the passing of their loving husband, father and grandfather.”
State government officials are also mourning the loss of their colleague.
“Sen. Ed Jones was a dedicated public servant of North Carolina serving as a State Highway Patrolman for 30 years, former mayor and police chief of Enfield. He was an advocate for education and a strong voice for the law enforcement community in our state. Most of all, he was a great friend to me and I will always cherish our friendship. Bob and I thank him for his service to the people of North Carolina, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to his family,” said North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue.
“Sen. Ed Jones was a dedicated public servant who cared deeply for people – his family, friends, constituents, colleagues and even strangers,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. “He was truly one of the finest people I have ever met, and I will miss him greatly.”
Within the NC Senate, Jones served as vice-chairman of the Appropriations on Justice and Public Safety and North Carolina Senate Standing Committee. He was also a member of the Governor’s Crime Commission,
Jones served two years in the North Carolina House of Representatives before joining the Senate in 2007, succeeding Sen. Robert Holloman of Ahoskie who also died in office. Jones won re-election to another two-year term last month in the newly aligned 4th Senate District.
Jones spent part of his 30-year career as a First Sgt. with the Ahoskie office of the state Highway Patrol.
In October, Chowan University honored Jones with its 2012 Community Service Award. Prior to his death, Jones served as a member of the Chowan University Board of Trustees. He held the distinction of being the first African–American trustee at Chowan.
A native of Buncombe County where he began his law enforcement career as a sheriff’s deputy, Jones graduated from Lee H. Edward High School in Asheville as well as from Western Piedmont College in Morganton. Additionally, he was a graduate of N.C. State University Administrative Officer’s Program.
He served his country as a member of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
Jones was very active in his church, St. Paul Baptist in Enfield, where he served as chairman and was on the trustee board.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Holden; two daughters, Alesha and Andrea; and three granddaughters.
(RC News-Herald Staff Writers Thadd White and Amanda VanDerBroek contributed to this story.)