Missionary, alumnus Don Jones dies at 88
Don Cleo Jones, three-time Southwestern alumnus and career missionary to Korea, died April 9 following a head injury two days earlier. He was 88.
Born in Galveston, Texas, on November 13, 1928, Jones grew up in a Christian home, surrendered his life to Christ at an early age, and later said “yes” to God’s call to missions in Korea, where he served for 36 years along with his wife, Nita. Prior to his appointment as a missionary, Jones had been to Korea while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
The Joneses studied Bible and music at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, and then graduated in 1956 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth with Bachelor of Divinity degrees, which were converted to Master of Divinity degrees in 1969. Jones also earned a Master of Arts in Religious Education in 1969 and a Doctor of Ministry in 1979, both from Southwestern.
Appointed as missionaries in 1956, the Joneses studied the Korean language stateside and then deployed overseas in 1957. Jones taught at the seminary; served as mission treasurer; led religious education promotion work; and worked as a mission planner, mission administrator, and evangelism coordinator. His wife first served in religious education, but she soon began to utilize her musical talent by teaching piano, leading musical groups, training music directors, and translating and publishing music materials. After 36 years of service, the couple retired to Grand Prairie, Texas.
As reported in a Baptist Press article, the Joneses’ children, Libba and Preston, both learned to swim in the Yellow Sea, vacationing at Taechon Beach. “We truly had an interdenominational family of missionaries from all groups who became part of our larger family,” Jones said.
In 2010, Jones returned to Korea alongside 14 other emeritus missionaries in order to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Southern Baptist work in Korea. Jones preached in numerous churches as well as the seminary in which he taught for many years. At the time, Jones said he looked forward to a reunion in heaven of those former colleagues with whom he served during his nearly four decades as a missionary.
In his later years, Jones taught Sunday School at Inglewood Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, where he also served as a deacon and choir member. The church named their mission house in honor of Don and Nita Jones.
Don was preceded in death by his wife, who died in 2004. He is survived by his two children, Libba and Preston, and their families.
The funeral service will be on Saturday, May 6, at 10:00 a.m. at Inglewood Baptist Church.