Fallen professor remembered

Professor Oliver Jones Jr.’s campus memorial ceremony was held Thursday afternoon.

The Florida A&M University political science professor died Sept. 1 of this year while in hospice care. He was 60.

Jones’ memorial service included family and friends both past and present.

The Rev. Jeffery R. Mills presided over the service.

The FAMU Ensemble provided music for the proceedings, playing traditional selections such as “Holy, Holy” and “Old Time Religion.”

Three graduate students, Derrick Garcia, Breyon Glenn and Demetrius Smith took the stage to speak on how Jones affected their lives personally and academically.

Smith said he was persuaded by Jones to go to FAMU instead of Florida State University. He said Jones told him he would be treated like family at FAMU.

“He had high vernacular,” Glenn said. “He had the ability to make students go out and seek knowledge.”

Ralph Turner, interim dean of FAMU’s College of Arts and Sciences, read a resolution by FAMU President James H. Ammons, proclaiming Jones’ service and academic prowess. A framed copy was given to the members of his family in attendance.

Jones’ colleagues also spoke.

Fire Chief Oscar Brennon, executive coordinator for the Black Chief Officers Committee and former Fire Chief of Birmingham, Ala., mentioned stories of Jones’ success in the field of fire chief administration and his proclivity for teaching younger black men in the field. He knew Jones for 20 years.

“He was a dynamic individual,” Brennon said.

Jones was born in Savannah, Ga. and grew up in Statesboro, Ga. He became a FAMU professor in 1979, teaching Public Policy, Public Administration and State and Local Government. He was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

He is survived by his immediate family: his wife of 25 years Vernita, his two daughters Olivia and Deidra and his sister Martha Jane.