Even after doctors told him that he could no longer receive treatment, Former County Manager Harry Jones vowed to keep fighting. A little over a month after he made that public vow, Jones lost his six-year battle with cancer ended. But his message of a community coming together to face and solve its challenges will live on. He was 67.
Jones bravely fought the illness that kills more than 90 percent of its victims in five years. Jones was the county’s first and only Black county manager. He was unceremoniously fired as the county manager in 2013.
But he will always be remembered for being a champion of the people of this county and city. Jones’ helped the county navigate the recession. He helped provide housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Jones fought to for Romare Bearden Park and so much more in the county.
In January, friends and family gathered to honor Jones at a celebration at the Ballantyne Hotel. They wanted to give Jones flowers while he was still living, but it wasn’t a somber occasion until the end when the weight of his fate was too hard ignore. Family, friends, community leaders and colleagues from other cities gathered to share stories about Jones. Stories ranged from his college years, where he met his wife Becky, to his rise to becoming a public official.
But it was Jones’ words that January night that will most be remembered: “Harry Jones will fight. I will not give up. Phone calls will continue to come – from me to you – because I care about you.”