Robert K. "B.J." Jones, 81, of Lorain, died unexpectedly at his home Monday, May 4, 2020. He was born March 18, 1939 in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, the product of a sharecropper’s family.
After completing Military Service as a paratrooper in Germany, he moved to Oberlin in 1958. He started his employment with the City of Oberlin as a police dispatcher in 1966, was appointed to patrolman in 1967, was promoted to sergeant in 1972 and was appointed to the position of Chief of Police in 1980. B.J. was the first African American police chief in Lorain County. B.J. retired from the Police Department after 33 years of service with the City -- 20 of those years as Chief. After an eight-month retirement, he became the Director of Safety and Security at Oberlin College and served eight years in that capacity. B.J. also worked as a part time assistant with the Cowling Funeral Home in Oberlin.
He was a graduate of Lorain County Community College, the National FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and the Southern Police Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. B.J. served as president of numerous organizations, including the Lorain County Police Chiefs Association, the Cleveland Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Community Foundation of Lorain County’s African American Community Fund (AACF). While serving with the AACF, B.J. co-chaired the Council on Foundations national committee on diversifying community funds, an initiative sponsored by the Ford Foundation. He has also served as a member of the Boards of Directors of the Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, Inc. and the Oberlin Head Start Program. B.J. is past president and lifetime member of the Oberlin Unit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was the Finance Officer for Oberlin’s Willard Holmes American Legion Post 656.
B.J. was a graduate of Leadership Lorain County (LLC). He was a member of the Elyria-Lorain YWCA’s Community Anti-hate Taskforce and the 100 Men of Lorain County serving in their mentoring program. B.J. chaired the Oberlin Community Services Capital Campaign when they were raising money for the current building. He also received many honors and awards from organizations throughout the county for his service.
B.J. is survived by his wife of 30 years, Claudia (nee Watson); his children, Rosalind (Barry) O’Brien of Power Springs, Georgia, Rolanda Jones of Marietta, Georgia, Jordan (Michelle) Jones of Douglasville, Georgia and Keith Jones of Austell, Georgia; seven grandchildren, Terrell, Craig and Brittany O’Brien, Trenton, Cameron, Kalyn, Kyndal and Jacob Jones; former wife, Bonita Quinn Jones and loving nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Horace and Gladys (Johnson) Jones; brothers, William (Pete), Earl, Milford and sister, Minnie Jones Walker.
A memorial service will be held Friday, July 10, 2020 at 11 a.m. at Westwood Cemetery, 455 Morgan Street, Oberlin. The Reverend Fred L. Bell of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Oberlin, will preside. Family and friends are encouraged to wear facial masks and socially distance themselves.
Memorial contributions may be made to the African American Community Fund, c/o The Community Foundation of Lorain County, 9080 Leavitt Road, Elyria, OH 44035.
Online condolences may be made to www.cowlingfuneralhomeoh.com
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