Mrs. Parnell M. Jones, 88, entered eternal rest on Saturday, January 4, 2014, at Tara Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Mrs. Jones funeral was held January 10, at First African Baptist Church. She was buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.
Mrs. Jones was the third child of the late George and Leila Mines; her brothers, Henry and George, Jr. preceded her in death. A devoted wife and mother, she was preceded in death by her loving husband of sixty years, Mr. Johnnie Paul Jones, Sr.
She was a native of Savannah, Georgia, and 1944 graduate of Beach High School. Mrs. Jones attended Georgia State College (now Savannah State University). But the love for people and nursing led her to transfer to Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, where she graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. In later years, she studied at Armstrong State College (now Armstrong Atlantic State University), the University of North Carolina School of Public Health at Chapel Hill, and attended numerous workshops through the Medical College of Georgia and Emory University. As a public health nurse, the Savannah community affectionately knew her as “Nurse Jones.” Her license as a registered professional nurse remains active at her transition.
Mrs. Jones accepted Jesus Christ at an early age and continued her commitment as a life-long member of Mount Zion Baptist Church. As an active member of Mount Zion, her dedication and service was limitless. Her church involvement included treasurer of the John Q. Adams scholarship commission, member of the Junior League, and deaconess board.
Her dedication to community service and advocacy began during her teenage years as a youth member of the NAACP, and continued throughout her life. Mrs. Jones was a pioneer for African-American nurses in Savannah, Georgia. As a registered nurse, employed 34 years by the Chatham County Health Department, “Nurse Jones” worked tirelessly with families in the Savannah area. She led efforts to secure a state grant that funded a genetic hematology clinic in Savannah, and was a founding board member of the Sickle Cell Association of Savannah, Inc. Mrs. Jones was an active member of the Georgia Nurses Association and was proud to serve the citizens of Savannah as a board member of the Savannah Hospital Authority.
Mrs. Jones received many accolades and awards in appreciation of her public service. Such recognition included the Economic Opportunity Authority’s James T. Deason human relations award in 2008, Sertoma Club, Inc. of Savannah’s Service to Mankind award, and was honored as a 2010 parade marshal for the MLK Jr. Day Celebration. She served on a myriad executive boards including, Greenbriar Children’s Center, Inc., Wesley Community Center, Inc., Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, Inc., Hospital Authority of Savannah, Sickle Cell Association of Savannah, Inc. and Savannah chapter of the Georgia Federation of Colored Women’s Club, Inc.
She worked diligently with her husband in the Liberty City-Richfield Southover Community Association and Savannah State University Alumni Association. She maintained until her death, the Parnell M. Jones Scholarship Fund and was a committed member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. wives’ organization, the Silhouettes.
Nurse Jones’ love and thoughtfulness continues to live on in her transition. Embracing wonderful memories are a loving son, Mr. Johnnie Paul Jones, Jr.; a sister, Mrs. Zelma Mines Owens; three nieces, Shirley Hull James, Allynne Tosca Owens, and Wanda Owens Jones (Atlanta, Georgia); devoted friends, Mr. and Mrs. (Annette) Otis Brock, Sr., Dr. and Mrs. (Connie) Lester Johnson, II, Mr. and Mrs. (Beverly) Charles Smith, and a host of grand and great nieces and nephews, cousins, other relatives and close friends.