We lost a true American hero on Oct. 24, 2017, when Col. Joseph Lloyd Jones went home to be with the Lord. Born on Nov. 20, 1922, in Lockhart, S.C., he grew up during the Great Depression in Sylacauga, Ala., the son of the late Wiley Stanford Jones and Alma Smith Jones.
In August of 1942, Jones enlisted in the Army Air Corps, beginning what would become a highly-decorated military career. After graduating from gunnery and navigation school, he was deployed to England during World War II as a B-17 navigator. He led two missions on D-Day, and was shot down bombing Berlin in October of 1944, after which he spent nearly a year as a POW. He spent his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, serving in World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, before retiring as a full colonel in 1975. He was a Master Navigator, flying over two million miles and spending more than one year of his life in flight.
In addition to his flying career, Col. Jones also served with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and NATO in the Pentagon, and was part of the initial faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Col. Jones was honored with 18 military medals, including a Purple Heart and three Legion of Merits, the highest non-combat award. He held a BA degree in History and Political Science from Howard College (now Samford University), and a MBA from Indiana University.
More important than his career, Col. Jones loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his family. He was an ordained deacon, a Sunday School teacher for 60 years, a lay witness revival leader for two decades, minister of music at Tokyo Baptist Church from 1963-1966, and helped start churches in four different cities. He was also a golfer, a fisherman, a handyman, a gardener, a master picture framer, a youth coach, and a fan of any sport played by his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Col. Jones was predeceased by his wife of 69 years, Ora Belle Glenn, and his two sisters. He is survived by two daughters, Glenda Case and her husband Willie of Delaware, and Susan West and her husband Eddie of Asheboro; a son, David Jones and his wife Roxanne of South Carolina; and his wife of four years, Betty McDowell Jones. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at Pugh Funeral Home in Asheboro on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m., with burial following at New Hope Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends prior to the service, from 1 to 1:45 pm at Pugh Funeral Home. The family would like to thank the staff of Hospice Care of Randolph County and Randolph Hospice House for their loving care of Col. Jones during his final days. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: Hospice of Randolph County, Post Office Box 9, Asheboro, NC, 27204-0009. Please feel free to share remembrances at www.pughfuneralhome.com.