Obituary of Thelma Jacqueline Jones
Thelma Jacqueline Jones July 20, 1940 – February 5, 2024
Mother made her appearance on July 20, 1940 in a holler in Scott County, VA. It wasn’t Butcher Holler that she sang about so often but somehow, I think that song made its mark due to similarities. Raised beyond poor, she was made to work hard gathering cows before making breakfast, planting a garden, and working tobacco. This was a lot for a small girl, but she managed to push through.
She was raised in a house of nine siblings, and it was these young years that music and singing became the glue that platformed so many memories. They used their voices to fill time, and as one of my uncles noted in a song he wrote, they were poor as an old church mouse, so they played and sang their way through life. The sisters’ harmonies were sought after in many churches and events. These were beautiful times, and she treasured her siblings!
Mother was not made to go to school, a common thread of those times, but her self-motivated grit wanted more, and she began the steps in life to make her mark. She did so with clothes that were embarrassing to wear. One of her best friends and cousin, Maxie, gave her food as she was a server. Mom was one of the best students in her Gate City class; she thrived in grammar and if you did not, she would surely correct yours!
Upon graduating she landed her first job at The Kingsport Press where she worked in the bindery department. She managed to make it out of the holler and she and one of her best friends, Charlotte Hammonds, excitedly got their first home together. The Kingsport Press was a family and she made lifetime friends, played jokes on many, and had her first experience on a picket line where her mischievousness soon showed through. She and Aunt Dana managed to cut someone’s hair off, an actual story that made The Kingsport Times News and also gave another lady a not so pretty tussle in an old-time phone booth. The police were on the hunt for some beautiful well-dressed women behaving badly. Would she like this story told? Well, she would act like the answer was no but in actuality, it was a yes and I always told her I would tell this story at her funeral, and she would reply with a laugh.
Thelma met her true knight in shining armor, Dewey Jones, by happen stance in a waiting room at Holston Valley Hospital. Young love can be a beautiful love and they were both captivated at first glance. His dark Elvis Presley looks and funny stories drew her in. They exemplified a true love story, the kind where they never gave up on each other and her love of God led him to fall in love with Jesus. She bloomed alongside him, and he watched, listened, and learned from her example. She was his ruby and he cherished her! All those years were not glamorous but filled with sickness and hard work, but they stood tall. She once stayed in his hospital room for three weeks straight when he was faced with surgery. Their good times surely outweighed their bad ones.
Thelma’s pride and joy was me, Kimberly Shelina. Her childhood had been a hard one so this made our relationship a special one, and we were as close as two could be. This never changed, and I am a product of her prayers. Her last words to me were “Thank you” but mom, you are the one to be thanked.
Later on in life she went to work for the Hawkins County Tax Assessor and was one of the best mappers to date. She was momma to the group and would spank their hands over curse words and kept them laughing for twenty-two years. She never stopped talking about her work family and, as she got older and her mind failed, never forgot them. They mattered more than they could have ever imagined.
Christian Life Center was Thelma’s foundation. She was one of five in the first church service in 1952 and was so proud of that fact. Mom’s heart swelled with happiness that she was part of something beautiful for seventy-two years. She never wavered; it wasn’t just a building but where she fell in love with Jesus, where she learned about the one and only true book which became her life map.
Upon meeting mother, she came across quiet in nature. However, upon getting to know her, people were surprised with her spunk and straight forward nature. She was an avid sports lover including NASCAR, The Lady Vols, Michael Jordan, Davey Allison, Sugar Ray Leonard and the LA Dodgers. She knew all their stats back in the day. One of her favorite things was finding herself in a seat watching a Dodgers game.
She was also a history buff and loved to travel! She did three motorcoach trips to visit The New England States, New York City and out West.
Thelma Jacqueline Jones might have had an enemy but if so, we never knew it. She was truly an angel travelling here on earth. To know her was to love her. She gave to others when she did not have it to give, and her cup always was full because of her giving heart. She was selfless in love, in giving, in being a friend, a homemaker, a mother, and a wife.
In the last two years her dear Shirley and her were closer than they ever were before. They had known each other since the age of fifteen. They sang, laughed, cried and told stories of long ago until the end. Their stories will be tearfully missed. The love and relationship they shared was a beautiful one. They were entertaining and provided all of us with endless singing acts.
Lil Thelma fought hard to feel good for most of her life. God bless you for the life you lived. You made it look easy and never wavered in your relationship with God or the ones around you. You were outspoken but could always get by with it because you were so stinking funny.
Mother, you were an angel on earth. Go rest high and run like a young girl in your new painless body. Turn your cheek to feel the wind blowing through your beautiful thick black hair. Join the angels singing in a land where you will never grow old, and your voice will never tire. I am so excited that you are meeting your mother for the first time, and I daydream about your hand folding into my father’s hand once again.
Thank you for all you gave!
Kimberly Shelina Jones
Services will be held at Christian Life Center, 2401 N John B Dennis Hwy, Kingsport TN on Saturday, February 10, 2024. Receiving friends will be held from 10:00am to 12:00pm, service at 12:00pm. Graveside service immediately following located at Highland Cemetery located at E Main Street, Rogersville, TN.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.cartertrent.com.
Carter-Trent Funeral Home in Church Hill is proudly serving the Jones family.
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