Longtime educator dies at 97

BUFORD - The principal of Glenn C. Jones Middle said the school will remember the legacy of its namesake, who died Wednesday at the age of 97.

"It's a day that you knew was inevitable, but you never wanted to come," Principal Richard Holland said. "At 97, he lived a full and fulfilled life."

Jones had a deep impact on the community, Holland said. In addition to being a teacher, coach, bus driver and principal, Jones was active at Zion Hill Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday school for 60 years.

Students of the middle school made condolence cards for Jones' family, which includes children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Holland said. One eighth-grader wrote that hearing about Jones' life made him want more in his own life.

"Thirty-four years after he retired, he still had a profound impact on the students in the community," said Holland, who opened the school four years ago.

"Knowing him has been the greatest honor of my career," he added.

Jones was a celebrity within the middle school. Holland said students would get wide-eyed when they saw him walking the halls. Jones enjoyed talking with the children, and he even celebrated his 95th, 96th and 97th birthdays at the school.

"We're so fortunate to know him," Holland said. "The school board doesn't name many schools for living people. We got to know him and be with him and spend time with him for four years."

Jones began teaching after he graduated high school and worked in education for 41 years. He continued to teach while he went to college, getting his bachelor's degree from Oglethorpe University and his master's degree from the University of Georgia.

Holland said Jones believed every child could learn and made every child feel special.

"His legacy is ultimately the idea that every child can learn," Holland said.

Jones was preceded in death by his wife, Agnes. Holland said Jones credited a lot of his success to his wife's support and felt the school was "Glenn and Agnes Jones Middle."

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said the school district extends its sympathy to Jones' family.

"Mr. Jones had a tremendous amount of influence in the community and on its children," he said. "His presence will be missed at Jones Middle School. The school and its students will continue to serve as a legacy to this long-time educator."

A visitation will take place today at the Hamilton Mill Memorial Chapel, Holland said. The funeral has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Zion Hill Baptist Church.