Former GC Associate Treasurer Frank Jones Dies
First African-American in post, supervised construction of new headquarters
BY PAULA L. WEBBER, Corporate Communication Director, Advebtist Risk Management
rank L. Jones, II, 81, a retired pastor and a former associate treasurer for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC), died November 28, 2007, at his home in Huntsville, Alabama, following a brief illness.
He was born in 1926 to parents Frank and Daisy Mae Jones in Mobile Alabama, both baptized by Elder Harold B. Singleton, then president of South Atlantic Conference. Jones' siblings also joined the church. He spent several years in the military and, in 1945, accepted the Adventist message. He was honorably discharged from the United States Navy a year later, then he headed to Oakwood College to study for the ministry.
After graduating from college and marrying Dorothy Gilbert, the love of his life, Jones moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and began his ministry. Following his ordination, he worked for the church in various capacities, mainly in treasury. He had a knack for details, coupled with great people skills.
“It was always a wonder to see how Frank got things done,” says Don Robinson, a former associate treasurer who worked with Jones at the General Conference. “We would be facing deadlines and he would say, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ Frank was not a worrier, I was.”
|Elder Frank Jones [Photo: Bill Cleveland/OC]
Jones served at the church’s world headquarters from 1977 to 1990. He was the first African-American elected to serve in the treasury department. When the GC decided to move its headquarters from Takoma Park, Maryland, to a new site in Silver Spring, Maryland, Jones was appointed to oversee the construction of the new building and move all of the employees and offices,(which then comprised of five buildings), to the new facility.
“We had a short time to relocate,” recalled Melvin Seard, former GC facilities manager. “The entire move happened over the course of six months. Frank and I worked with the builders on the plan and the coordination of the move. … We won an award for the building. Frank was a master organizer, and without him I don’t think we would be in this building today.”
After retiring from the GC in 1991, the Joneses moved to Huntsville. Though retired, he continued to work for the church, assisting wherever he was needed. His expertise was drawn upon in the process of constructing the Business and Technology Complex at Oakwood College.
“Frank saved this college thousands of dollars," said Delbert Baker president of Oakwood College. How and why? "Somehow he knew the records of the school going back to the 40’s and the 50’s. “He was always able to give the right counsel at the right time. He worked in a quiet way behind the scenes. He had a tremendous sense of organization and the knack to do things right.”
When the decision was made to open a central office for regional ministry on the Oakwood College campus, Jones oversaw the establishment of the office and the renovation of the facility. He then served as auditor and director for regional conference ministry. During his time with the regional office, Jones was instrumental in organizing the Regional Conference Retirement Plan.
“When we decided to establish the regional retirement fund,” said Charles Cheatham, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Allegheny East Conference, “because of Frank’s background in management in the treasury department, he became a tremendous mentor to each of us in setting up the plan.”
A scholarship fund through the Regional Conference Ministry has been set up at Oakwood College in Jones’s name, Cheatham said, and “the Frank L. Jones Legacy Award of Academic Excellence in Business Studies will be given to qualified students who wish to pursue their CPA and MBA.”
His survivors include his wife, Dorothy, and their three children, Frank, III, Patricia, and Steve.