By Sylvia Dunnavant Hines
Texas Metro News
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”President John Quincy Adams
Dapper, dynamic, and disciplined; former Mayor of Garland, Ronald E. Jones is turning 30 years of government service into a lifetime legacy of honor with the renaming of the former Main Street Municipal Building in his honor and in recognition of his lifetime of public service.
On Friday, June 23, the City of Garland will celebrate Jones at 9:30 a.m., when the new signage will be unveiled at the Ronald E. Jones Municipal Building, 800 Main Street.
“You know how to respond to a routine compliment regarding doing a good job, but when something of this magnitude happens it takes your breath away,” said Jones, who was visiting with his grandchildren in Miami when the Garland City Council voted in September 2022.
Although Jones started working with the City of Garland in 1974, he officially joined the city’s staff in April of 1977. He has led 14 departments and rose to the rank of assistant city manager. Jones held that position during his final five years as a city of Garland employee. He then retired in 2005.
After his retirement in May 2005, he served as Management Consultant to the City Manager and helped set up a Relief Center for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Jones also served as parliamentarian to the Mayor and City Council.
“When Mayor Davis came to the end of his term people started scrambling for names to recommend for the position. I offered several names for consideration. Then it shifted to me. The question was raised, why didn’t I run for the position. After careful consideration, I realized that I didn’t have any reason not to run,” said Jones, who solicited his wife Peggy to be his campaign manager.
In 2007, Jones became the first African American to be the mayor of Garland. He won three-way races in 2007 and 2009, garnering more than 83% of the vote in his reelection bid. He was unopposed in 2011.
He is described as a “homegrown statesman, teacher, servant -leader, monument of excellence and trailblazer.”
“Mayor Jones remains a shining beacon of inspiration, grit, courage, character, and compassion, for generations past, present and yet unborn. His unselfish service to our city and community guided our past and shaped our vision for the future,” said Councilman B J Williams, who was a former student of Mayor Jones.
Even though Jones is excited about this honor, he is grateful to just be alive to celebrate this distinct honor.
According to Peggy, in 2018 he had a health crisis that led him to be hospitalized for 116 consecutive days and during that timeframe he spent 79 days in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Between October of 2018 and May of 2019, he was on a feeding tube.
Peggy, who is a registered nurse, worked diligently with Jones’ team of doctors to help get him healthy. The rehabilitation process also included him learning to walk again.
You can expect to see many of Jones’ Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brothers at the unveiling on Friday. According to Earnest Goode, who is also a long-time church member (Jones has served as pastor of Dallas’ oldest Black Baptist Church – New Hope) the two have worked together in the church, the community and fraternity.
“We are very proud of him and are excited that not only is the building being named in his honor, but he is here to see it,” said Goode.
Many of the citizens of Garland and Jones’ former colleagues are also filled with enthusiasm regarding this upcoming honor of the local icon.
“Ron made a significant contribution before he retired from working in different capacities within the city,” said Tony Torres, founder of the Garland Association for Hispanic Affairs. “I think that the renaming of the municipal building is a reflection of his contributions to the city, the community, and the city as a whole. Garland has changed to become a more open city because of his leadership.”
In an effort to help with diversity and inclusion in the city of Garland, Torres developed a relationship with Jones during the beginning of his government career. As the result of their 30-year partnership and friendship he has witnessed the impact that Jones has been able to make in the city.
“Ron made the city more accessible to the community, not just for Latinos, but for all different groups within our community. During his term he had an open-door policy. If there was an issue you could go to him and talk about it. His style of leadership brough dialogue and resolution to problems,” said Torres.
The Ronald E. Jones Municipal Building is home to the city’s permitting processes, as well as its planners, engineers, transportation officials and others who are at the heart of the City’s day-to-day operations.
“This is a fantastic honor, which puts a lot of additional responsibility on me to be mindful of who I am, whose I am, and what I represent. Now that the city is permanently affixing my name with theirs by connecting it to a major municipal building, I do not take this lightly. I have always considered myself part of the Garland city family,” said Jones.
Jones and his wife have two sons and ten grandchildren.. Their eldest son Ronald E. Jones II is an attorney; and the youngest son is a retired NFL Player, Daryl Jones who played for the Giants, Bears, and Vikings. Daryl currently serves as the Pastor of the Rock Fellowship Church in Miami, Florida.