Family of the Week: The Jones Family
Happy 99th Birthday Bennie Jones
April is a significant month on many fronts. On Saturday, April 17, 2021, Bennie Jones Sr, celebrated 99 years of life. He’s was recognized with a Drive by and Honk Happy Birthday Parade. A month prior to the parade, he answered 99 “Happy Birthday’ telephone messages from family and friends.
Mr. Jones was born and raised in the deep southern state of Alabama in the town of Pickensville JUST 57 YEARS after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox in April, 1865, ending slavery in the United States. In addition, as we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, his birth came just two years after the official end of the last pandemic, the Spanish Flu, April 1920.
Mr. Jones considers himself blessed as the eldest of seven boys and four girls born to Burl and Mary Jones, to still be in good physical health and able to continue to engage with his family and community. Benny often shares that his father called him “the oldest rat in the barn.”
A consummate role model in his working years, he led his family simply. That family included his late wife, Lottie, three daughters and a son born to that marriage and his eldest daughter from a previous relationship. He continues to lead in the only way according to him. “By precept and example.” In addition to his son-in laws and daughter in law, grandchildren and, great grandchildren along with a multitude of nieces, nephews, and others others in his circle of influence continue to reap the benefits of the wisdom gained from his life experiences. Those life experiences of the many hard working African American men and women of the ‘Grand Generation” during the “Great Migration” north. His own personal experiences include but are not limited to: picking cotton and farming in Alabama on his father and grandfather’s land, serving as a seaman in the U.S Navy in World War II and returning to the Pickensville to help his father pay for the land, moving to Omaha and working two full time jobs as a laborer while taking all the trade classes he could (refrigeration and air conditioning, construction, auto mechanics). He has come through overt Jim Crow south of the Mason Dixon Line and covert systemic racism in the north.
Throughout his life, a strong work ethic and dedication to family exampled delayed gratification and set a high bar for the representation of a good man. He advised his children and grands to set personal goals and boundaries while displaying warmth and understanding of the challenges others face in navigating life.
Happy Birthday Benny Jones Sr. You continue to share wisdom, discernment and good conversation advising those who follow, in the kindest manner, to “make yourself an asset, not a liability.” With humor, the ability to laugh with others and at your own humanity coupled with a positive, outlook you ground us. A National Treasure, established April 17, 1922.