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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

In Loving Memory of Frank Jones

Frank Jones lived his life to the fullest and passed away July 3, 2021 at the age of 91.  He will be missed by all who had the opportunity to meet and know him. 

Francis Irving Jones was born in 1930 in Washington, D.C. to the union of Walter Irving Jones and Rosina Matthews Jones. He and his siblings moved to Vancouver, WA when he was 13 years old, a culture and climate shock for sure. Jones was a proud alumnus of Clark Junior College and the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. 

In 1962, Jones was the first African American teacher at Magnolia Elementary, a school with zero Black staff and students. Seeking a more diverse setting his next move was to teach 5th grade at Madrona Elementary school. While there he was selected for several non-classroom assignments that included supervising cadet teachers from the UW and program coordinator of the New Careers Program for paraprofessional (teacher’s aides), which allowed him to grow his leadership skills. That role led to his appointment as Seattle School District’s Head Start Program Director in 1968. 

In 1970, Jones was recruited to join the Federal Regional Office of H.E.W. that was being newly established and helped manage the Head Start program in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Jones credits his professional progress in the 1960’s and 1970’s to the courageous warriors in the Civil Rights Movement – nationally and locally. Jones’ lifelong proclivity for learning and leading was enhanced by his experience as a board member of the Seattle Chapter of the United Nations Association, East Madison YMCA, the Seattle City Levy Oversight Committee, Northwest Resource/NW Adoption Exchange. Following his retirement from the Federal Government he earned his master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Washington and went to work at various community-based organizations like Mt. Baker Youth Services and Central Area Mental Health, as a child and family therapist.  After retiring from social work in the ‘90s he enjoyed the U.W.’s Access educational program for seniors. In later years, he returned to work as a non-medical specialist member of an Institutional Review Board reviewing pharmaceutical company drug trials on human subjects.  In 2012 he “really” and finally retired.

Jones supported the United Nations Association of Greater Seattle, the NAACP, The Breakfast Group, the Democratic Party, AARP, and the National Association of Social Workers. He enjoyed music, theatre, dance, film, reading a variety of literature, history, politics, sports, and travel and the vibrant community of active and engaged seniors living at Seattle’s Horizon House.

In 1954, Frank married Anita Durden Jones, the mother of his four beautiful children. Laura Shapiro was Frank’s wife and companion from 1973 until her passing in 2006.  They had a wonderful life of global travel, theater, all the cultural arts. The addition of far-flung Shapiros across the U.S. along with the multitude of Jones’s family members has assured him a lifetime of nurturing community. Jones married his 3rd wife, Barbara DeAsis Brown, in 2011. That union lasted until her death in 2014, a short time that formalized a friendship that originally began in 1952 on the University of Washington campus at a time when he was “already taken” as Barbara often reminded him. 

In 2017, Jones married his lovely surviving wife Patricia Valentine and they were blessed to be able to have a great life together pursuing the pleasures of family, community, music, theater, travel, cruising and being with friends regularly. The deep love they shared was purposeful, meaningful, honest, and inspiring. 

Jones is mourned by four children Marcus Jones (Lori), Millicent Jones-Smith (Walter), son Bruce Jones (Angela) and son Jon Craig Jones (Cathy), his grandchildren Skylar, Quincy, Logan, Jazz, Sean, Kelsey, Justin, Jasmine, Ebony, Jewel. He is also survived by two of his sisters Mellina Jones and Christina Reed (Robert) and two stepdaughters Chanel Thomas Ellis and Danyale Thomas.  He will be missed by many, many other cherished relatives, and friends.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be July 24, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Seattle’s Jimi Hendrix Park adjacent to the NW African American Museum in Seattle.          

In lieu of flowers please consider a gift to NAAM, PBS, or other favorite charity.

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