Frank Nathaniel Watkins Jones…
Frank Nathaniel Watkins Jones was born Frank Jones, Jr. on December 17, 1935, to Frank Jones and Sarah (Dunson) Jones in Union Town, AL. To distinguish himself from his father, he later acquired the middle name Nathaniel Watkins from distant relatives.
The Jones family moved to Cleveland, OH, when Frank was six years old with his two-year-old baby brother Ralph Jones in 1941. His baby sister Bernice was born in 1946. He then became a protective big brother who tried to boss her around for the rest of his life.
Frank went to Glenville High School where he was a gym leader, a life guard and an acrobat. He later graduated from Alabama State University with a degree in Sociology. It was there he met his wife and lifelong love Evelyn Frances Ezekiel Jones.
He and Frances married in 1963 and welcomed their first daughter Kim into the world in 1964. His youngest daughter, Colette, followed a little over ten years later in 1974.
Frank was a high-school Sociology, International Studies, and Reading Comprehension teacher in the Cleveland Public School System, first Director of the Street Academy, Assistant Superintendent for the Catholic Diocese, an Ambassador for Youth for Understanding, an Educational Consultant for Zaner-Bloser, and a Night Dean at Dyke College.
He was chosen as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America in 1970 and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers – The Best Teachers in America selected by the Best Students, 1998.
He was also a world traveler who visited Africa, South America, and Europe numerous times.
But what kind of man was Frank?
Frank never met a stranger. He could talk to anybody, any time, and anywhere to the dismay of anyone who was with him.
Frank was a comedian who was a master of imitation and embellishment. He kept his family, friends, and coworkers entertained and often doubled over in laughter, which made holiday gatherings especially fun.
He was a talented and creative cook who could make a gourmet meal out of questionable leftovers.
He was fiercely protective of the people he loved. His mere presence threatened every boyfriend his daughters had throughout their time in high school.
Frank was a naturally talented musician who played jazz piano and the bongos by ear. A jazz aficionado, he was particularly fond of Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra.
He was an enthusiastic historian and keeper of Jones and Dunson family history.
Frank was also a selfless mentor who often gave direction and encouragement to faltering students and young adults. Past students often stopped Frank on the street to thank him for his guidance and contribution to their success.
Frank was an artist who made leather purses and jewelry for his wife. He also made furniture and found countless uses for leather scraps throughout his home office and successive car interiors.
Frank was as an eccentric brother-in-law and uncle to his wife's siblings and their children and would gladly cook meals or fix things around the house.
He also helped his wife take care of her ailing mother before she died, which Frances will remember and be grateful for, the rest of her life.
And finally, Frank was a fiercely loyal husband and father whose love his family never doubted.
He leaves behind his wife Evelyn Frances Jones, daughters Kim and Colette Jones, Monica Keys who was like a daughter, brother Ralph Jones (Gloria,) sister Bernice Jones (John,) nephew Kevin, great-nephew Erik Hayes, first cousins Lois Bradley, Joan Means, Deborah Williams and a host of brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.
Frank's passing leaves a big void in our hearts. He will be missed more than these words can say.
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