The VOICE has lost a family member in the sudden passing of Richard O’Neal Jones. Richard began volunteering with the Black Voice News as a weekly columnist penning witty and comical articles on senior living. He eventually began working weekly as a distribution driver, delivering the publication throughout Moreno Valley, Perris, Riverside, and Rubidoux and worked up to becoming the Distribution Manager for the paper.
Richard was killed in an auto accident early last Wednesday morning which also took the life of the other driver who struck his vehicle.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 19, 1946 to Catherine Griffin and RB Jones. He was Catherine’s only son and second born of three children. He was raised in Saint Louis, Missouri but in his teenage years, moved to Los Angeles, California with his single mother and two sisters, Fayetta and Beverly. Funny how life cycles, his mother took care of him until adulthood, and in her golden years he closely took care of her until his last day.
Richard married Annie Mae Cheeks in 1971. This marriage produced four daughters: Yolanda, Rochell, Jennifer, and Roxanne. He abruptly became a single parent when Annie Mae died as a result of an automobile accident in February 1982 and he was determined to raise his four girls and would receive help from special women along the way.
He later began a blended family with Barbara Bacon and her daughters Comeletta and LaTasha. In 1985, their son Darren Jones was born. With his joking personality, he would often say, “Another man in the house . . . Thank God for that!” Years later, he built a loving home for his children with Shirley Johnson. From that relationship, Brandi Jones was born in 1993. In 1999, he married Rose Mallett; daughter, Monifa, was added to the family. This legal union would last 10 years, but a loving friendship continued. All of the women from these loving relationships provided Richard, not only companionship, but mother figures for his four oldest daughters whose mother had passed. There were other people along hiss journey that were instrumental in assisting him raise his four oldest girls, like the Cheeks family in Mississippi, and a special few members of the Cochran Avenue Baptist church family. Finally, his loving relationship with Ruth Moran, a companion in his last years, confidant, and business partner fostered the family unit with him, his children, and her family. Not only was Richard a proud father of six, but his six children are deeply proud of him.
Before Richard found Christ, he was (in his words) a “city slicker and con artist.” This led to his incarceration from 1988-1990. What seemed like a tragedy to him and his family, revealed later to be a blessed beginning. In prison, he embraced his talent as a writer. He published Tips Against Crime, Written from Prison in 1993. This book would lead to his appearance on television programs, including the Oprah Winfrey Show. This also spawned into him producing and hosting a local cable show where the honorable judge that sentenced him to prison later became a guest on his show. Richard would go on to be an author of more than 15 books; a writer of hundreds of poems; mentor and outreach coach to at-risk youths and ex-convicts; drug and substance abuse counselor; newspaper columnist and contributor; playwright of three plays; motivational speaker; guest on radio shows; teacher of parenting classes; comedian; instructor at local community colleges and writer organizations. His last major project that he was passionately working on was his line of greeting cards called “Ox and Donkey Relationship Greeting Cards.”
Richard received the Lord in 1988, while incarcerated. Upon release from prison in 1990, he united with Cochran Avenue Baptist Church in L.A. While there, his Christian walk led to a deaconship. He remained an active member there until he moved to Orange County in 1999 and united with Friendship Baptist Church in Yorba Linda. In 2000, he moved to Moreno Valley and joined the Quinn A.M.E. church family. He remained a pivotal member and beacon to his church family there until God called him home. At Quinn, he served as church treasurer, trustee, Sunday school teacher, and usher. He was a true man of God who served his church family. Whenever someone needed an extra hand around the church or a ride to service, he quickly volunteered and never complained when called upon to help. Richard could be found at Quinn church two to three times per week; and on Sunday mornings he was a fixture who could be seen clapping his hands, tapping his feet and singing out of tune with a big smile on his face.
Richard was a very funny man with a quick wit. He had a profound impact on many lives through his gift of inspiration and a life of service to others. He turned the test of his past into his testimony of today. In 1998, he wrote in his autobiography, When Mama’s Gone: “As I reflect on the many near death experiences in my life, including but not limited to spiritual death, from causes self-induced to causes accidental, I thank the loving grace of Jesus Christ for sheltering me. When I deserved an obituary, He gave me a book. Thank you Lord.” God spared his life for 17 more years after he wrote those words…Oh how those years were used to change the content of what is now his obituary. Richard dedicated his life to the Lord, strengthened his relationship with his children, personified fatherhood, enriched his friendships, positively impacted many lives, and blessed the world with his talent.
He is survived by: his mother, Catherine Harvey; sisters, Fayetta Harris and Beverly Jones; children, Yolanda R. Jones, Rochell E. Jones-Pitts, Jennifer C. Jones, Roxanne C. Jones, Darren O. Jones and Brandi O. Jones; granddaughters, Jamilah K. Zubair and Aalia K. Zubair; grandsons, Zain-ul-Abideen (Zain) K. Zubair and Xavier A. Jones; son-in-laws, Leslie Pitts III and Zubair Bakubye; daughter-in-law, Tanya Jones; uncles; aunts; nephews; nieces; extended son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren, Damon, Monifa, Adannya & Jalil Burgess; other relatives and numerous friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you send a charitable contribution in honor of the works of their father, Richard O. Jones and Quinn Community Outreach Southern California Witness Project for Breast Cancer Awareness. Charitable contributions can be made to Quinn Community Outreach Corporation or you can visit the website and contribute online at www.qcoc.net. Additionally, the address below has been designated to accept both donations and cards:
25400 Alessandro Blvd., Suite 101
Moreno Valley, CA 92553Phone (951) 485-3734
The Liberation of Aunt Jemima
by Richard O. Jones
Times certainly has brought about a change
And to a few, it might sound strange
Black women, today, are soaring with ambition
No more barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen
And she’s not slaving like an ox
Have you seen her new image on the pancake box?
Ha! Purse full of credit cards; fancy car
And the girl ain’t even a movie star
Not long ago, I was on the bus
Eating fried chicken from the colonel
Reading a girlie magazine, and full of lust
Sitting next to a sister reading a Wall Street Journal
I said, “Pardon me baby, where are you on your way
I would like to know your name if that’s okay?
Your perfume I surely adore
I believe we’ve met somewhere before.”
She says in a dignified, elegant voice,
“I’m on my way downtown to City Hall
I must chair a council meeting, and that’s not all.
Then I’m flying off to the United Nations
To advise on a classified situation.”
“I’m sorry, but I fail to remember you
Were you ever in Zaire, Sudan, or Istanbul?
Or perhaps it was Rome, England, or by chance
It was Chad, Morocco, or Paris, France?”
“You see, I’m multi-lingual, and I travel a lot
The Universe is my melting pot
But once a month, I take this bus
Just my way of staying in touch”
‘Nefertiti’ is my name
And Universal peace is my game
I attended Benedict College in South Carolina
And earned my Bachelor’s Degree.
Then I went to Fisk
And received my Master’s, in Nashville, Tennessee.
At Howard University, in Washington, D.C.
That’s where I earned my Ph.D.
I have offices in Dallas, Chicago, and Mexicana
A penthouse in New York, and a home in Atlanta”
“I play a harp, and pilot a jet
Now tell me brother, where do you think we met?”
I rung the bell, got up and left
Aunt Jemima done got besides herself!
Richard’s last poem was to be presented at Quinn AME on March 15, 2015.
Written Monday, March 9, 2015
Richard was called home Wednesday, March 11, 2015
EVERY STORM RUNS OUT OF RAIN
Inspired by Psalms 30:5 KJV
by Richard O. Jones
In your rattled benighted hour
When your wholeness is broken in two
You’re a giant against your obstacles
Think of what a tiny seed goes through
A seed nestles in mother’s flesh
There’s a natural order of strife
It must endure to the end
Or never inhale the breath of life
A seed in the ground doesn’t sleep
It forges through natural change
And blossoms into a towering tree
As every storm runs out of rain
Your tender heart is mere flesh
No heart is made of steel
Suffering is a natural order of life!
Yet pales in the glory to be revealed
Blizzards are always temporal
Weeping may endure for a night
There was once a storm for forty days
Then the sky was shining bright
When cold dark clouds hover
And chills flow through your veins
Know that joy cometh in the morning
As every storm runs out of rain