Former state auditor dies | Arkansas Blog

Former state auditor dies

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Former state auditor and Arkansas adjutant general Jimmie "Red" Jones died Monday at age 88. Details on the jump.

NATIONAL GUARD RELEASE

CAMP JOSEPH T. ROBINSON, Ark. - The Arkansas National Guard today mourns the passing of one of its former adjutants general, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) James Herbert "Jimmie Red" Jones.  General Jones died at his home in Hot Springs, Arkansas on September 1, 2008 at the age of 88.

Memorials may be given to First United Methodist Church, Magnolia, Arkansas in support of the Caring Place Alzheimer's Program, or to the Jimmie Red Jones Scholarship fund at Southern Arkansas University.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. on Friday September 5 at Ashby Funeral Home Chapel in Benton, Ark.  Dr. Walter L. Smith, chaplain colonel with the Air Force Reserve will perform the service. Visitation will be on Thursday September 4, from 5 pm to 7 p.m..

The general will be buried at the Magnolia City Cemetery in Magnolia, Ark. Following the grave side service there will be a reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Magnolia Room in the Donald W. Reynolds Center at Southern Arkansas University.

The attached biography on General Jones is being released on behalf of his Family.

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Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jimmie Red Jones

Major General (Ret.) Jimmie Red Jones was born March 14, 1920 in Magnolia, Arkansas. He died September 1, 2008 at his home in Hot Spring, Arkansas. He was the son of the late Stephen Herbert Jones and Ethel May Stevens Jones. He was raised in the home of his Grandfather, Judge J.Y. Stevens, Magnolia, Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his brother Marion C. "Buddy" Jones of Magnolia, Arkansas. He graduated from Magnolia High School, Southern State University (SAU), and Keegan's School of Radio and Television in Memphis. He attended Arkansas Law School. He received the Southern Arkansas University Distinguished Alumni award in 1988. He was well known for playing football in high school and college, captain of football teams in both high school and college. He played quarterback and linebacker. His famous co-player was Charlie McClendon, long-time head coach of Louisiana State University (LSU). Jimmie Red introduced many times as a "150 lb dynamic football player", but if he had weighed 200 lbs he would have been outlawed from the field. Awarded the trophy as "Best All Around Athlete" in High School, he lettered 4 years in high school football and basketball.

He began his working career as a newspaper boy, clerk in stores, filing station attendant, roughneck and switcher in the oil fields. He joined the Arkansas Army National Guard in 1938 and entered active service in October 1942 as an aviation cadet. Trained as a bombardier, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps in December 1943 and flew 30 combat missions as the lead Bombardier with the 93rd Bomb Group headquartered 8th Air Force at Ipswich, England. He was promoted to first lieutenant in August 1944 and in August 1945 was released from active service and assigned to the Officers Reserve Corps. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster (which he dearly cherished); Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters; Joint Service Medal; European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Bronze Stars and World War II Victory Medal-along with many others.

He returned to Magnolia after the war and was announcer and commercial manager of radio stations at Camden and Magnolia. In 1950, he was elected three terms and served only two terms as County Tax Collector. During this time, he organized the Veterans Foreign Wars (VFW) and Magnolia Chamber of Commerce. He served as President of the Southern State College Alumni Association, and Magnolia Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Arkansas Junior Chamber of Commerce. Serving as their first President, he was National Director, Arkansas Junior Chamber of Commerce and Commander of Magnolia Post, VFW. In 1955, he was appointed by Governor Francis Cherry as State Land Commissioner and was named Magnolia Man of the Year.

In 1956, he was elected Auditor of State and served twelve terms. During this time he was Chairman, Arkansas State Employees Retirement System. He was elected in 1971 as President of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers. Magnolia again honored Jimmie Red with a "Jimmie Red Jones" day and established a $10,000 scholarship at South Arkansas University (SAU) in his name. Jimmie Red was well known in Magnolia, receiving 97 percent of their vote when first elected Auditor of State.

Major General (Ret.) Jones served as Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard February 1, 1979 to June 14, 1981 and from January 11, 1983 to February 10, 1984. Jones had rejoined the Guard in 1947 and was assigned to the 206th Tank Battalion where he served as platoon and company commander. Following promotion to captain in 1951 his assignments included Adjutant, Communications and Motor officer of the 206 Tank Battalion. In 1961, he was transferred to Headquarters, Arkansas Army National Guard and promoted to Major with assignments as Assistant GI and later Field Division Advisor in the Selective Service Section. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1967, he served as State Inspector General, Director of Supply and Maintenance and Operations and Training Staff Officer. Jones was promoted to Colonel in 1971. After his tenure with the Guard, he was transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve Control until his appointment and promotion to the Adjutant General, retiring as Major General. General Jones holds the Legion of Merit and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.

General Jones maintained an active interest in politics throughout his career. He was the state campaign manager for Bill Clinton when he was reelected in 1982. He has served the Democratic Party as a key fundraiser for President Bill Clinton.

Life member of the First Methodist Church, Magnolia; member of Columbia Lodge No. 82; Free and Accepted Masons, Magnolia; 32nd degree Mason, Arkansas Consistory; member of the Shrine Scimitar Temple and Jesters; American Legion (Past State Department Commander); Elks Clubs and member of 40 and 8.

All during his life he worked for many civic organizations and projects (Cancer, TB, Heart, United Ways, and others). He organized and served as chairman of the parade Commission celebration when the city became 100 years old at the time it was the longest parade in Arkansas history (4.5 hours) which may still stand.

He is survived by his wife Shirley Ledbetter Jones Colonel (Ret.), stepsons Bobby Dale Gentry of Pine Bluff, Barry Gentry of Redfield and Chan Holcombe of Fort Smith. Grand step children, Jessie Marie Gentry and Brenna Dale Gentry of Pine Bluff, Bobby Lewis Gentry II and Shelby Grace Gentry of Redfield, Jimmie Holcombe of Arcada, California and Charity McCartney of Fayetteville, a nephew Dr. Steve Jones and his wife Clara of El Dorado, a niece Marian "Susie" Howard and her husband Rory of Pilot Point, Texas.
Honorary pallbearers are: Dr. Kyle Roper of Hot Springs, Andy Anderson of El Paso, Arkansas, Jimmy Mode of Greenbrier, the members of Virginia Clinton Birthday Club, and Hospice Home Care of Hot Springs.

Memorials may be given to First United Methodist Church, Magnolia in support of the Caring Place Alzheimer's Program, or to the Jimmie Red Jones Scholarship fund at Southern Arkansas University.

Funeral services will be on Friday September 5, 10:00 am at Ashby Funeral Home Chapel in Benton, Arkansas. Dr. Walter L. Smith, Chaplin COL Air Force Reserve will perform the service. Visitation will on Thursday September 4, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Jimmie Red will be buried at the Magnolia City Cemetery in Magnolia, Arkansas at 3:00. Following the grave side service there will be a reception from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Magnolia Room in the Donald W. Reynolds Center at Southern Arkansas University.

 

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