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Ben F. Jones, Sr. passed away peacefully at the age of 101 on January 26, 2024. He was a devoted husband; father and grandad; pleasant helpful neighbor, co-worker and supervisor; and wonderful person to all who knew him. His life was an example. Several phrases used to describe him over the years: ‘the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job,’ ‘still waters run deep,’ and ‘the fruit of the spirit.’
Ben was born on a farm to Lonnie G. and Lucy B. Jones in Catawba County in 1922 and was the 4th of 6 siblings. His family moved to Kannapolis in 1936. He graduated from J. W. Cannon High School in 1939. After working in Cannon Mills for 1 year, he entered Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone to study math and science. In February 1943, he was drafted into the US Army and served as a B-29 gunnery instructor. He survived a plane crash that caused back pain for the rest of his life. He overcame this obstacle and accomplished much during his life.
During his military service, Ben decided on a long-term 3-phase plan to build and develop a farm. Following Army discharge in 1946, he identified a 300-acre farm of special interest between Concord and Charlotte, but not yet available.
Ben entered North Carolina State University in autumn 1946. A member of Phi Kappa Phi, Ben finished his BS degree in agronomy and animal husbandry with high honors in December 1947. At the same time, the farm of interest identified earlier became available and was purchased. For the next 8 years, he executed phase 1 and worked 10+ hours per day, 6 days a week to clear land, build fences, and build a herd of cows.
With the farm developed where it could pay for itself, Ben began phase 2 of his plan and started work at Cannon Mills in 1956 as the supervisor of waste water treatment. In November 1956, Ben married Ruby Hoffman of Winston Salem, and they built a home in Kannapolis.
He worked for Cannon Mills by day for nearly 30 years and tended the farm in the evenings and Saturdays. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Kannapolis and was Sunday school teacher for 40 years and a deacon.
In June 1985, he began phase 3 of his long-term plan. He obtained a NC real estate license and began to develop his property, which was sold in May 2006.
With the farm behind him, Ben embarked on a new vision: How to fulfil and make life better for others. In 2010, Ben and Ruby Jones created an endowment at NC State University for a faculty member serving in the Plants for Human Health Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. In 2011, Ben and his wife moved to The Gardens of Taylor Glen retirement community in Concord where his wife died in 2012.
In addition to wife Ruby, Ben was preceded in death by his father, mother, three sisters (Mildred, Cleo, and Margaret) and one brother (Glen).
He is survived by his only son, Ben F. Jones, Jr. (Samantha) and cherished grandchild, Allison, of Switzerland, and one sister, Shirley Grahl of Brevard, sister-in-law, Nancy Shaw, nieces Melinda Toppenberg (Panos) and Lisa Hooke (Rob) and Will Hooke; Jane Belo; Kaye Sargent (Chuck); Linda Robian (Mike); Mary Cain Murphy (John); Larry (Judie), Jerry (Liz); Tracey Jones, and Carol Grahl (Kris).
The immediate family gives a special thanks to Agnes Whitesell of Taylor Glen who became a dearly beloved friend after Ruby died, providing tremendous companionship and support. Deep gratitude also goes to individuals who have supported Ben and his son: Larry Mann, Ken Argo, and Larry and Judie Jones.
The family also wishes to thank Taylor Glen staff, particularly since Ben moved from Independent Living in 2021.
Funeral services will take place at 2 pm, on February 14, 2024 at First Baptist Church in Kannapolis. Burial will immediately follow the service at Carolina Memorial Park with full military honors. Visitation will be prior to the service from 12:30 pm to 1:45 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the Building Fund of First Baptist Church, 101 N Main St., Kannapolis, NC 28081.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.whitleysfuneral home.com. Whitley’s Funeral Home is serving the Jones family.