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Obituary - Reverend Dr. Donald J. Jones

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Reverend Dr. Donald J. Jones passed away August 6, 2023, at the age of 93.

A service is planned for Don at 11:00 a.m. August 12, 2023, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Illinois. There will be a private entombment at East Lawn Memorial Gardens in Bloomington.

Born to Rev. J. Rush and Mollie Jones in Ovid, Colorado, January 4, 1930, Don was an only child. In 1951, he married his high school sweetheart, L. Darlene Fox, and they were married for 69 years until her death in December 2020. Together, they raised a family of five children, Don Jr. (Lori) of San Antonio, Texas, Linda (John) Olson of Heyworth, Illinois, Dianna (Todd) Davis of Kewanee, Illinois, Debora (Glenn) Corkill of Bloomington, Illinois, and Dan (Pamela) of Normal, Illinois. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

Don graduated from Denver University and headed east to attend Garrett Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, never to return to “Colorful Colorado” to live again.

Don and Darlene faithfully pastored United Methodist Churches in the Great River Conference, including Avon/Prairie City, Bishop Hill, Galesburg, Petersburg/Oakford, Gibson City/Elliott and Decatur Grace. Don also served eight years as a Counselor on the UM Council on Ministries, six years as District Superintendent of the Jacksonville District, and five years as Director of United Methodist Church Conference offices.

During Don’s tenure as pastor, he attended two World UM Conferences as a delegate, was elected to General Conference (a world-wide UM Conference) five times, and also served on the UMC’s General Board of Publication, Nashville, Tennessee. He retired from active ministry in 1994, though he continued to serve, when called, as an interim pastor for Chatsworth UMC, Gibson City UMC, and Calvary UMC in Normal.

Don was a proud Colorado native. As a preacher’s kid, he lived in several places including Ovid, Rinn, Olathe, Idaho Springs, Central City, Holly, Fleming, Limon, Fowler, Silver Plume, and Eads, Colorado. Some of these towns existed in the mountains, while others on the plains. He loved the mountains especially, and was looking forward to taking one more trip this September to his beloved native state.

If Don hadn’t become a minister, he would have ended up with a career in radio/television. HIs interest in radio began as a very young boy when he began crafting homemade radio stations with a floor model Magnavox radio, an old wind up record player, and an old battery Airline. He also began touring radio stations in and around Denver, getting to know the announcers and DJs. As a teenager, he frequented KLMR in Lamar, being dropped off by his parents whenever they were in town. He continued his interest throughout his life, eventually becoming a partner at WVLJ in Monticello.

Related to this interest, when he pastored Grace UMC in Decatur, they had a weekly TV ministry in partnership with WAND-TV. A highlight of his life was a joint Christmas Eve service broadcast between Berlin, Germany, and Decatur Grace on the year after the Berlin Wall came down in conjunction with ABC-TV.

Don and Darlene loved traveling. Every summer, they’d load up the five kids in the station wagon pulling a travel trailer and head to a different state. As they became empty nesters, they bought an RV and continued traveling down the road. Many of their travels were with the United Methodist Nomads where they worked on mission projects with other RV’ers. They travelled all over the country and world with Don’s work and continued after retirement. Once they took a 3-month journey to Alaska in their RV.

Don was a mentor to many, and a friend and pastor to all. He will be missed.

Memorials may be sent to the Preachers Aid Society in Decatur, Illinois, or Wesley United Methodist Church in Bloomington.

Arrangements are under the direction of Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home.