John Wesley Jones died of cancer on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, at the Butterfly Wing of Baton Rouge General Medical Center-Mid City. He was 68. A native of Pleasant View, Ky., he was a Spanish Town resident in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. John held degrees from the University of Kentucky, Johns Hopkins University, at which he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Scholar, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he earned a master's degree in library science. He worked both as a college instructor and as a librarian. During the Vietnam War, John chose alternative service and served as an English teacher in Turkey followed by an extended stay in Europe. As a modern poet, (he wrote his first poem at the age of 14), John was named Poet Laureate of San Francisco in the 1960s. He was a published poet with his work appearing in the very first issue of Hanging Loose (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in 1966 and later in the 25th Anniversary Issue as well as in more subsequent issues. He recently self-published a collection of his poems titled: "A Fearful Joy." Book information may be found at his website: www.johnjones.info. John was born Oct. 23, 1942, the son of Edgar Cyrus and Elizabeth Rains Jones, both of whom preceded him in death. He is survived by a brother, Edgar Franklin Jones, of Venice, Fla.; two sisters, Mary Elizabeth "Sissy" Jones Wickline and her husband, Dr. Gerald Wickline, of Baton Rouge and Patricia Ann Jones Hall and her husband, Johnnie Hall, of Jeffersonville, Ind.; a nephew, Michael Wayne Jones, of Venice, Fla.; two nieces, Erika Dawn Hall, of Jeffersonville and Sarah Elizabeth Wickline Hull and her husband, Patrick Hull, of Covington; and two grandnieces, Margaret Mary Elizabeth Hull and Evelyn Fay Hull, both of Covington. At John's written request, his remains have been donated for study to the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. He was a Benedictine Oblate of St Joseph Abbey in Covington and requested that the abbey cemetery be his final resting place at which time a requiem Mass will be celebrated. A memorial prayer service will be held at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, March 1, beginning with visitation with family at 1 p.m. followed by the service at 2 p.m. The Rev. Howard Hall will officiate. Special music will be provided by Jerie Ford and Robbie Giroir. The family wishes to thank the administration and staff of The Guest House for their very loving care and kindness to John during his extended stay there and to Hospice of Baton Rouge for their care and kindness during his final hours.
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Published in TheAdvocate.com on Feb. 27, 2011