William H. Jones died in his home in Arendtsville on Aug. 21. He was born on Christmas day in 1938 to Jerold Jones and Mary Morgan Jones in Camden, New Jersey. He spent his toddler years learning to balance on a tugboat when his father worked as its First Mate. Later, his father became a minister in the Church of the Nazarene and was revered by Bill and all who knew him as a model for a life guided by love for everyone.
When Bill went to college he met and was immediately enraptured by Elaine Lynch. The two “went steady” throughout college and married as soon as they graduated. They stayed very happily married for the next 60 years.
Bill and Elaine moved to Gettysburg in 1964, where Bill opened the first Gettysburg College Counseling Office. He taught classes, headed the Counseling and Health Center, and assisted students with psychological wellness for nearly 50 years. He became well known for sympathetically listening and helping people find solutions to their problems. Soon, he was sought out for counseling by other staff and faculty members, as well as people from the town. He continued to counsel students until his retirement in 2012.
Though small in stature, Bill was always a top-notch athlete, playing many sports including tennis, ice hockey, and baseball, briefly pitching for a semi-pro team. He coached youth soccer and was an official soccer referee. But he was especially well-known for playing noon pick-up basketball games at the college into his 70s, often frustrating much younger players with his fancy ball-handling skills.
As devoted as he was to sports and his counseling work, he was most devoted to his wife and family. Bill and Elaine’s first son, Todd Edwin, is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and their second son, Chad Wheaton, is the Co-owner of Bonsai Fine Arts in New York. Their daughter, Marni Gail, is a learning specialist and the Dean and Director of Access and Disability Services at Dickinson College.
In the early 1970s, Bill got involved in the civil rights movement and wrote a dissertation on integrating college campuses. He directed many service-learning projects and took college students on numerous missions to help poor people throughout the world. He also assisted his wife, Elaine, in many of her local and national causes.
Bill Jones had an inexhaustible supply of love, gratitude, and infectious good cheer. People would tend to feel optimistic even after a short conversation with him. He will be sorely missed in the community, and especially by his adoring wife, children, and six grandchildren.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at a later date.