Bro. Leon Jones was born June 17, 1935 to the late Matthew Jones & Jessie Leaks Jones at Humphrey, AR. He departed this life on October 24, 2019 at his home surrounded by his loving family. Leon acquired his formal education at Rosenwald High School in Humphrey, AR. When reflecting on his past education, he spoke fondly of those who contributed to his academia, namely; Professor Evans, Professor Owens, Mrs. Calhoun, Mrs. Baltimore and many others. His former classmates report that Leon was very smart and excelled academically. During his senior year, Leon left Humphrey, AR and relocated to Kansas City, Kansas, where he resided with his Aunt Viola, who was his father’s sister who happened to own a restaurant. It was here that he acquired his passion for food preparation and his culinary niche.
Leon professed his faith in Christ and was baptized at an early age at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church under the shepherding of Rev. Ross. While in Kansas City, he attended the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church located far south. Before moving to Kansas, Leon reported doing farm work for Mr. Finis Putt, Ole’ Man Muse, and his dad who owned farmland across the road from the family home. Leon spoke candidly about his dad’s pair of horses and a mule that helped to make farming a bit easier for him and his dad.
While at Kansas, Leon worked as a machine operator at a packing house on Southeast Blvd. for nearly 20 years packing meats, storing them in boxes and stamping the boxes for delivery. He also worked at Wade’s Restaurant. To earn extra money, he washed cars.
Leon’s fondest memory was working at Joe’s Malt Stand (Joe was Jewish) on Brooklyn Street where he made chocolate melts and says, “I was GOOD at it!” When asked which job was his favorite, he responded, “Whatever I do, I try to do my best.” During his down time, there was a bookstore around the corner from Joe’s that Leon enjoyed visiting.
His hobbies included (but not limited to) bicycling riding, reading, and science; he was always fascinated with rocks. For transportation, he’d catch a yellow cab. After work, he would occasionally go to his friend, Robert’s house where they would laugh and talk and watch television, or sometimes go to the movie theatre on 12th & Pesso. Leon reported that he did not do too much partying & “always tried to stay out of trouble.” He dated very little and said,” I tried to stay away from wild women who didn’t act right.”
Leon returned to his hometown on Humphrey in the late 70s to early 80s to care for his ailing father.
Leon will be fondly remembered as the quiet, unassuming outdoorsman who loved nature, welcomed the sunshine and regretfully bade the sunset adieu. He would be found on any given day gathering twigs, small branches and grass while sitting under an old oak tree gazing over the horizon while enjoying the vastness and beauty of God’s green earth.
*This biography was written on October 20, 2019 as told by Bro. Leon Jones who sadly passed away four days later.
Leon Jones was preceded in death by his parents, (5) sisters, Ruby Jean Jones, Bessie Jean Jones, Lucille Jones, Joyce Jones Reed, Blachie Mae McCollums, and one brother Evan Jones. Leon leaves to celebrate his life: (3) sisters, Shirley Lasley (Tommy), Humphrey, AR; Louise Jones, Humphrey, AR; Claudia Jones, Little Rock, AR and a host of nieces and nephews and other family members. He will be sorely missed by his family and all who loved him.