Ohio Citizen Action lost a dear friend and long-time board member yesterday with the death of Mike Jones, 62, of Pataskala. Mike died, surrounded by his family, in hospice care after suffering from lung cancer.
We first met Mike in the 1990’s when he worked with our board member Carrie Garnes and his mother, Roberta Jones-Booth, on the campaign to protect their South Side Columbus community from pollution and accidents at Georgia Pacific. Although Mike and his family eventually moved to Pataskala, Mike never really left the South Side, continuing to work with his friends and neighbors on important community and public health issues.
Mike served on our board for 9 years, beginning in 1999, was term-limited off, and then came back to the board as soon as the by-laws allowed two years ago. He made these comments about his involvement on the board:
“It’s truly an exciting experience – it’s a joy being in the same boat with like-minded people. It reminds me of what Cleve Sellers wrote in his book, The River of No Return. He was a regular farmboy when he began organizing with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and he wrote about how once you realize what’s at stake, there’s no way to make that understanding go away. You can’t ignore it. You have to deal with it. You have to clean it up. We’re all paddling down the river of no return together.”
Mike was a joy to work with, forever thinking of new strategies and, as he would say, coming up with ideas for “propaganda.” Mike was a treasured colleague, a gracious host, and most of all, a fighter for justice.
Mike worked as a systems analyst at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. He is survived by his wife, Tressia Priestly- Jones, their five children and six grandchildren. The Celebration of Life Service for Mike will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 15, 2012, at the New Antioch Bible Fellowship Church, 1415 Lancaster Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH. Mike’s family will receive friends beginning at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Roberta Jones-Booth Scholarship Fund in care of The Columbus Foundation, 1234 E Broad St. Columbus, OH 43205.
– Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action