Joan  Cherry  Jones

Obituary  and  Tributes


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Retired English teacher and Jack Jones Flowers & Gifts helper Joan Cherry Jones, 80, of Paris died at 1:28 a.m. Thursday, March 4, 2010, at her home.

The body was cremated.

Her husband, Jack Rice Jones, survives. They were married on May 23, 1952.

A memorial service is scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church, 101 E. Blythe St. in Paris.

Dr. Rob Martin of First United Methodist Church and Dr. Joe Geary, district superintendent of the Paris district of the United Methodist Church, will officiate. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery in Erin.

Honorary pallbearers will be her students.

A memorial visitation is planned from 4-8 p.m. Saturday in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church, 101 E. Blythe St.

Born April 27, 1929, at Nobles Clinic in Paris, she was the daughter of Freeman W. Cherry and Thelma Traylor Cherry.

In addition to her husband, she leaves two daughters: Cherry Jones of New York City and Susan Jones of Paris; four cousins: Helen Putnam and Sherry (Lee) Grinspan of Memphis, Charlotte (Don) Myers and Claire Myers of Jackson, Miss.; one sister-in-law: Doris Bicknell of Memphis; two nieces: Summer and Holly Bicknell of Durham, N.C.; and special caretaker and friend: Angela Phifer.

Joan graduated from Erin (Tenn.) High School with the class of 1947. She attended Austin Peay State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville and a master’s degree in education from Murray State University in Murray, Ky.

In addition to teaching English, she worked alongside her husband for many years at Jack Jones Flowers & Gifts.

She was a member of First United Methodist Church, where she was a former member of the chancel choir and former Sunday school teacher. She was a member of the church’s Administrative Board and Moving Methodist Women.

She was a member of the Paris Choral Society, Matinee Music Club, Paris-Henry County Arts Council, Happy Greer Delphian Club, Janusette Delphian Club, Henry County Retired Teachers Association, Tennessee Education Association, Robert E. Lee School Association, Paris-Henry County Heritage Center, Friends of the Wildlife Refuge and Thirsty Thursday Coffee Klatch at Jack’s Java.

She tutored students at Henry School and Sparks Street Church of Christ, worked with Lifeline Blood Services at the Bloodmobile in Paris and delivered Meals on Wheels.

Joan Cherry Jones began her teaching career in a one-room school-house by a creek in Erin, Tennessee, where her first pupils were her dolls. She roamed the hills of Houston County with her father, Freeman Cherry, an L&N railroad man and a stringer for The Nashville Tennessean. A teenager during World War II, her mother designed costumes for her singing appearances at local war bond rallies. She was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and could identify an enemy aircraft from a silhouette.

This cheerleader rooted her Erin High classmates to victory on the basketball court; weekends found her boarding a train to Clarksville where she enjoyed voice lessons. Her fondest memories were of playing paper dolls, roller-skating, riding bicycles and swimming in her beloved White Oak Creek.

In 1947 she left Erin to attend Austin-Peay State University, then George Peabody College for Teachers. She began her teaching career in an eighth-grade English class at Atkins-Porter School in Paris. She soon moved to Grove High School and later to Henry County High School, and received her Master’s from Murray State University along the way.

Although she had two daughters, when she spoke of “her children” she was referring to her more than 3,500 former students. She retired for health reasons in 1989, but reminded friends and family that she would “love to be teaching school this very minute.”

She found the love of her life “behind the soda fountain” at Vanderbilt University. She spied Jack Rice Jones in French cuffs, dipping ice cream, and declared to her girl friends that he was the man she would marry. And so she did on May 23,1952, at the First Methodist Church, Paris, where the couple attended church and sang in the choir together for more than 50 years.

She rarely took a vacation, preferring instead to save enough money to go to England whenever possible. A lover of British literature, the first time she landed on English soil, she said with tears in her eyes, “I feel like I’m home.” Her second favorite destination, New England, will come as no surprise to her American literature students. Many of her students have commented through the years that “Mrs. Jones always had our respect because we felt her respect for us.”

Joan’s compassion, kindness, love of laughter and of her fellow man, endeared her to all who knew her. She was a wonderful listener, and dispensed encouragement and advice from her store of wisdom. The Jones home on Oakwood Lane offered a haven of love and acceptance to a lengthy line of students, friends and family. She will be sorely missed.


Joanie Jones wore her culture lightly, graciously

Great lady displayed finer things of life

The words, “great lady,” don’t fit many people, but they rest lightly on the head of Joanie Jones.

They fit, not because of any great lifetime accomplishment, though decades of teaching high school English earned a constellation of stars in her crown, but because of an indefinable nobility of character.

She oozed culture — not the gaudy show-off kind but the real thing, bone-deep. Just to talk with her was to experience the finer things in life.

The words, “great lady,” don’t exactly fit because they suggest a haughty or imperious nature, and there was none of that in Joan Cherry Jones. She put on no airs; she never needed to.

Soft-spoken and unfailingly gracious, she was never coarse, never harsh, never mean-spirited.

Many people knew her best as the mother of two remarkable daughters, but she would have won her place in the community if she had never captured the heart of Jack Rice Jones.


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Joanie Jones influenced many

Published: Friday, March 5, 2010 1:11 PM CST
To the editor:

Joanie Jones quietly touched so many lives. She will be remembered for being an outstanding English teacher.

But the parents of the children she taught will remember the values, character and patience she always instilled with a smile.

I have grandchildren who live in the Pacific Northwest; as our granddaughter prepared to enter middle school, her mother, an English major, was concerned as to who would be her English teacher.

After meeting with the teacher, our daughter was assured that she was very capable. She did say to me later, “They just don’t have a Joanie Jones.”

There will not ever be another Joanie, but countless individuals will live productive, kind and gracious lives because of her influence.

Thanks, Joanie!

Nancy Geurin

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Published: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:08 PM CST

To the editor:

Here is a hearty “Amen” to all the things written about Joanie Jones. She was my English literature/history teacher at Grove and turned me on to castles, kings, queens and their stories.

But I am a pianist and, contrary to my mother’s dreams, I didn’t choose to be a concert pianist — I don’t like the center-stage limelight.

What I do dearly love is playing for those who are in the limelight as they sing.

Through many, many, many years of doing just that, I’ve had my favorites — two of them being Jack and Joanie Jones. What beautiful music they did make, such stage presence and poise!

Oblivious to the accolades from all who heard them, they were just content to enjoy each other and sing their hearts out. There’s been no one since who could do that with such aplomb.

And yes, I was in the background playing — an accompanist’s paradise!

Thanks for the memories, Joanie and Jack.

Peggy Williams


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Obituary, obituary photo and tributes to Mrs. Jones
Paris, Tennessee
March 5  & 10,  2010  Editions ~ Used by Permission

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In grateful appreciation for three years of enjoyable education, we,
the Senior Class, dedicate this, the 1957 Tower, to Mrs. Jack Jones.

(Reprinted  from  the  1957
Grove  High  School  Tower  Yearbook)

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