The Florida A&M University (FAMU) family is mourning the death of Oliver Jones, 60, a FAMU political science professor for more than 27 years.
Jones, a native of Savannah, Ga., grew up in a single-family home in Statesboro, Ga. He devoted his life to learning, which eventually led to traveling to places like Australia, Italy and London.
“He pretty much came from nothing,” said Deidra Jones, daughter of Jones. “His mother was his role model and he used his surroundings to propel himself into a better life. He saw education as a way to better himself and went full speed ahead.”
Before traveling the globe for a number of conferences, Jones received his bachelor’s of science from Savannah State College in 1971 and his master’s degree in1974 and his Ph.D. in 1979 at the University of Illinois.
Jones taught briefly at Rust College in Holly Spring, Mississippi, before becoming a professor at FAMU in 1979.
According to his daughter, her father believed, and would often tell people, an education is the process of moving from unconscious ignorance to conscious ignorance.
“Jones’ quest to enlighten his students and spread his passion for education will be greatly missed,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “We wish his family the best during this time of mourning. He was an outstanding faculty member and will be sorely missed.”
In addition to teaching, Jones also was part of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and the Black Chief Officers Committee.
Jones’ funeral is scheduled Saturday, September 8, at the Historical First Baptist Church in Statesboro, Ga. The family is asking that memorial contributions be made to Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32308.
“FAMU has suffered a tremendous loss with his passing,” said Aubrey Perry, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences during Jones’ early years at FAMU. “Not only was he a prolific writer and loved professor, he was also one of the most decent human beings that we ever had on the faculty.”
His daughters, Olivia and Deidra Jones, said they will remember their father for always being there when they needed him to be, for offering them a plethora of advice accompanied by some of his favorite quotes and instilling in them the passion he had for education. A passion that he managed to spread all across the world—especially at Florida A&M University.
He is survived by his wife of 25 years Vernita Jones of Tallahassee; a sister, Martha Jane Jones of Statesboro, Ga.; two daughters, Olivia Jones and Deidra Jones, both of Tallahassee; a nephew, Donsay Jones of Statesboro, Ga.; and a host of other relatives and friends.