Funeral services for Mr. Johnnie Paul Jones, Sr. were held on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 11:00 a.m. at the First African Baptist Church, 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, Georgia with the interment held at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.
He was the son of the late William Martin Jones and Estella Maude Tigglers. Mr. Jones was a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and resided in Savannah, Georgia for over 60 years. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, and the Atlanta Police Academy. He was a cum laude graduate of Savannah State College, now Savannah State University with a degree in accounting and a minor in business administration.
He did additional study at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia, and at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia. He served in the United States Army in WWII in the Pacific and earned three battle stars.
In 1948, Mr. Jones was one of the first eight African American police officers hired in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. In 2004, Mayor Shirley Franklin paid special tribute to Officer Johnnie P. Jones and called him “A living legend, the last of the magnificent eight, whose bravery established a legacy for all to learn and benefit from.”
Mr. Jones served as project manager of the Housing Authority of Savannah (HAS), and retired as Rent Schedule Supervisor. He was first African American to chair the Chatham County- Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission. He served on this board for twenty years and was noted for his diligence, fairness and firmness. He fought the proliferation of bad signage and helped shape the growth of the community in affordable housing, water and mass transportation. He served later on the Zoning Board of Appeals and retired from that board in 2011. In 1933, he joined the Historic Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, under the pastorate of the late Dr. Edward Randolph Carter, where he served on several church boards and ministries. In 1953, Mr. Jones became a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, Savannah, Georgia. under the pastorate of the late John Q. Adams. He chaired numerous church ministries and spearheaded many church projects.
Mr. Jones was a founding member of the Liberty City-Richfield-Southover Community Association and served as secretary for thirty four years. He was actively involved in the Association’s role in the building of the community center, and worked diligently with its programs.
He held life memberships in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, the Savannah State University Alumni Association, and the King – Tisdell Cottage Foundation.
He amassed a collection of awards and honors from religious, academic, community and professional organizations for his efforts including: Mount Baptist Church Deacon Board for faithful service, the Atlanta NAACP, City of Atlanta Black Officers Trailblazers Award from the National Order of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Savannah State University National Alumni Association, Savannah State University Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Community Service Award, the Liberty City-Richfield Community Association, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Planning Commission Chairman’s Award, Boy Scouts of America Troop 89 and Troop 230, 1997 Kappa Alpha Psi Joseph R. Jenkins Award, Saint Mary’s Parish PTA President’s Award, 2008 Economic Opportunity Earl M. Jones Civil Rights Award, 2004 SSU Homecoming Honorary Grand Marshal, and others. Brother Jones attended 90% of the Province meetings of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and 90% of the Conclaves of the Fraternity beginning in 1956 in Atlanta, there, had the distinct honor of meeting six of the founders of the fraternity.
Mr. Jones is survived by his wife of 60 years, Parnell M. Jones; his son, Johnnie Paul Jones, Jr.; daughters, Elmira Williams and Estella Miller, Atlanta, Georgia; nine grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. In addition nephews, nieces, cousins, other relatives, his church family, his frat brothers, and cherished friends.