Longtime Cleburne native and resident Tom Frank Jones died Tuesday. He was 82.
“It’s quite a loss,” Johnson County Sheriff Bob Alford said. “Tom was one of the early members of [the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse] and just a really good man. He served not only the Posse but also the community.”
Jones, a member of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse since 1958, served as captain and chairman of that group’s rodeo committee for several years.
The arena building at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse Grounds was later named after Jones to honor his contributions and service to the organization.
“Tom was a heck of a gentleman, a good businessman and a heck of a cowboy,” said Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse Captain David Welty, a 25-year member of the posse. “Really the reason the arena was named after Tom is because of the time, dedication and actual labor he put into the Posse. You won’t find a more dedicated Posse member. He’s one of the guys who helped form and shape the Posse, came in not long after it formed in 1951, and at times single-handedly took things on to make sure the Posse survived.”
This year’s Posse Christmas party marked a sad occasion, Welty said, the first time one in years without Jones and his wife in attendance.
Born March 25, 1931, Jones lettered four years and started three on the Godley High School basketball team. Jones and fellow students also cobbled together a football team of sorts.
“Godley quit playing football during World War II because there weren’t enough boys in the high school; they were in the service,” Franks told former Times-Review reporter Pete Kendall in a 2009 article. “But they had some football equipment stored, and some of the boys found it and wanted to get up a team.
“We didn’t have anybody to coach us, but a preacher who was also a school teacher volunteered. Only thing was, he’d never seen a football game. So he went to the library and checked out a book to learn something about football.
“I played my junior and senior years, and we never won a game. We were awful bad. The nearest we came to winning was at Grandview. They beat us 6-0. It came a downpour and water was ankle deep on the field. I guess they swam for their touchdown.”
Jones married Sandra Kathleen Davis in 1952 and went on to serve in the U.S. Army National Guard.
Jones later worked at the Johnson County Feeder Supply Co. in Cleburne and told Kendall he and his wife “dabbled” in farming and ranching in the mid-’50s on a rented farm about five miles out of Cleburne.
Jones joked that he once presented baby rats, pink with no hair, to his wife and told her they were prematurely born piglets.
“I told her the truth two weeks later,” Jones said. “I thought she was going to divorce me or kill me.”
Jones owned and operated the Cleburne South Main Exxon Service Station and Tire Co. for 30 years.
“I’m a retired game warden now, but I was stationed here in 1975,” Jones’ longtime friend and fellow Posse member Glenn Collins said. “I didn’t know anyone here at the time so I’d go down to Tom’s service station and visit with him and that’s how he got me into the Posse.
“He said, ‘Glen, you need to join the Posse.’ Before I knew it he had me taking over as treasurer and later captain. I’d tell him I don’t have time for that. ‘Oh, yes you do,’ he’d tell me.
“I can’t say enough good about him. Not a better man ever been in Johnson County in my opinion.”
Services for Jones will be conducted at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at First Baptist Church of Cleburne. Dr. Danny Crosby will officiate. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. today at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Cleburne, 414 N. Main St., Cleburne, TX 76033, or Cleburne High School Sports Booster Club, P.O. Box 966, Cleburne, TX 76033.