Community leader Jones dies at 84

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bill J. Jones, 84, passed away Sunday, June 9, at Memorial Hospital.
The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at First United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Randy Mosley officiating and will conclude in the church. Interment will be at Oak City Cemetery.

Jones was born March 14, 1929 in Bainbridge. Following his graduation from Bainbridge High School in the Class of 1946, he went to Atlanta where he attended Emory University. In 1951 he received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Emory University, then attended Emory Law School. Mr. Jones was a veteran of the United States Army, serving during the Korean War.

He spent 19 years in Atlanta where he was involved in banking, first with the Citizens Southern National Bank, now known as Bank of America, before returning to Bainbridge. He tried retirement in 1987, but in 1991 he became involved with a group that formed the Bainbridge National Bank, where he was chairman of the holding company, as well as a member of the bank board. That bank merged in 1998 with Park Avenue Bank and he served as a director of PAB Bankshares, Inc. and member of the board for a number of years. In a previous feature article about Jones, which was published in The Post-Searchlight in 2004, he stated that all told he was in banking 53 years before retiring as President of PAB.

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A very involved leader in community and civic activities in Bainbridge, he was largely responsible for the organization of the Memorial Hospital Foundation, and served as its chair for the first three years when he guided the organization of the first hospital gala. He was also trustee of the Bainbridge College Foundation, past chairman of the Gilbert H. Gragg Library Foundation Board, past chairman of the Administrative Board for First United Methodist Church, past president of Bainbridge Rotary Club, past president of Bainbridge Country Club, a four-year chair of the Industrial Development Authority, chair of the jail committee when the new jail was built in the 1980s, chair of the building committee for the rebuilt library, and also chair of the building committee of the First Methodist Church Sunday School building.

He was a past president of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, and chaired the Goal Committee for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. His networking with the Georgia Chamber enabled him to achieve what he considered as one of his major accomplishments — the attraction to Bainbridge of an industry, Patchogue Plymouth, which became known as BP/Amoco.

A modest man, Jones was always quick to give credit to others, claiming you can get only so far as your friends will let you. He explained that his connection produced the industry prospect, but there was a lot of work to do and many people were involved in landing the company.