A celebration of life for Clyde M. Jones, 82, will be held Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at Bethesda Presbyterian Church. The Rev. John Hallman will officiate. The family will receive friends following the service at the church in Westminster Hall. Honorary pallbearers are the 1964 State Championship Team and former Camden High School football players. Beloved husband, father, brother, uncle and coach, “Tubby” Jones passed away Saturday, February 7, 2015 after a 25-year valiant battle with heart disease. Jones is survived by his wife of 55 years, Emily Chamblee Jones, his three children, Teresa Jones Higgins, Annah Jones Deal, and Marc Jones; sons-in-law Peter Higgins and Johnny Deal, and daughter-in-law Kathryn Hinds Jones; grandchildren Margaret Lane Deal, Emily Deal, Clay Higgins, Martha Jones and Kate Jones; sisters Ann King and Blanche Hayes; brothers Bonnie Ray Jones and J.B. Jones; sisters-in-law Jane Chamblee, Linda Maddox, Iula Jones and Bonnie Jones; and many nieces, nephews and family members who he loved dearly. He is predeceased by his parents, Mary and Robert Lee Jones, brothers Robert, James C., Lonnie Mack and William Jones, and sisters Jeanette Chambers and Carrula Crocker.
A standout on the gridiron in his hometown of Anderson, SC, Jones was captain of his high school championship football team and captain of his Shrine Bowl team. He was highly recruited on the east coast, and he spent the summer after high school graduation working for Coach Frank Howard at Clemson University before joining the University of South Carolina (USC) football team in the fall - a move that made headlines in upstate newspapers and caused Coach Howard to call him a “traitor.” He lettered as a freshman at USC, which began a lifelong affiliation with the program. He earned All Southern and All American and boasted the Gamecocks beat the Tigers four years in a row while he was playing from 1951-1954. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in applied physiology, Jones served in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant and member of the U.S. Pistol Team traveling to Africa, Russia and around the world reporting his findings to Gen. Maxwell Taylor. He returned to USC in 1959 to earn a master’s degree in teaching and later in 1970 to earn a master’s degree in education administration.
After a brief stint in manufacturing, Jones returned to his love of football and coached high school football in Clarksville, GA and in Camden, SC, winning state championships at both schools with student-athletes he fondly called, “his boys.” The 1964 State Champion Camden Bulldogs are known today as the greatest football team to play in South Carolina as they were undefeated, unscored on and untied in the regular season. His saying of “suck it up” when the going got rough has lived on with players and their families. Jones spent his last years in education as principal of Camden Middle School, where he was known to be tough-minded but always fair and quick with hugs and encouragement for teachers and students earning him the nickname of “teddy bear.” Camden Middle School achieved the S.C. Education Improvement Act School Incentive Award throughout his tenure as principal and received honorable mention for the U.S. Excellence in Education Award in 1984. Jones served as a delegate for the U.S. State Department’s Educators on Foreign Policy, 1982-1987.
The name for which Jones enjoyed being known most, was Papa. He considered his five grandchildren to be the biggest blessing of his life. He took great delight in driving Margaret Lane and Emily in the red convertible to get ice cream cones, in hunting snakes and “gators” with Clay, and in providing extra hands to feed the twins, Martha and Kate. The many trips to the beach with time spent hunting shark teeth, telling ghost stories and building sand castles were priceless as was spending time at Lake Wateree together. He also enjoyed watching his grandchildren in dance recitals and playing volleyball, soccer, basketball and softball. And, he was most proud to see his oldest grandchild, Margaret Lane, graduate from his college alma mater and to know the grandchildren following her are excelling in their education, which he considered the most important achievement for all children.
Jones was an active member of Bethesda Presbyterian Church, serving as Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School Teacher, deacon and elder. He mentored struggling students and encouraged other retired educators to do the same. He served on the S.C. Athletic Commission under Governors Hodges, Sanford and Haley and also served with the following organizations: Kershaw County School Board, 1991-1993; University of South Carolina Lettermen’s Association, president, 2002; State Gamecock Club, executive board, 1998-2002; Kershaw County Habitat for Humanity, president, 1997; Kiwanis Club of Camden, president, 1982; Golden K Club, and was a lifetime member of the Camden Bulldog Club. He was selected in 2012 to the T.L. Hanna High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Anderson, SC.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bethesda Presbyterian Church, 502 DeKalb, St., Camden, SC, or to the Camden Bulldog Club, P.O. Box 785, Camden, SC 29021. The family is receiving friends at the residence.
Kornegay Funeral Home, Camden Chapel, is in charge of the arrangements.
Online condolences may be sent to the Jones family by visiting www.kornegayfuneral.com.