The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 7, 2013

Esther Mildred Payne Jones

The Joplin Globe

Alexandria, Va. — Esther Mildred Payne Jones, age 97, died on March 31, 2013, in Alexandria, Va., at the home she shared with her daughter.

Esther Mildred Payne Jones was born in Mooresville, Ind., on Sept. 24, 1915, to Alvin Clarence Payne and Laura Vail Payne and she spent her childhood years in Noblesville, Connorsville and Terre Haute, Ind. She was a graduate of Indiana State Teachers College (where her father was a professor) and she taught English, History and Home Economics at a small country school in Etna, Ind., for one year before marrying James Thomas Jones on May 30, 1937, at the Thorndike Hilton Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. Following their marriage, she and her husband returned to Joplin, where he served in numerous capacities with Empire District Electric Company, ultimately as its president. Except for accompanying J.T. to his military assignments in Salt Lake City, Utah and at the Presidio in San Francisco, Calif., during World War II, she resided in Joplin until moving to Arlington, Va., in 1996.

During her years spent in Joplin, she was a devoted wife and mother and was also vitally interested in offering her assistance to a variety of community efforts. Her idea of success was working on a daily basis to leave her world better than she found it. Her love of children led to her involvement with Joplin's youth. She took great delight in directing the Boys Club Choir of Joplin and leading the Brownie and Girl Scout troops at Columbia School for five years. In her 90's, she still remained in very close contact with her Brownies and Girl Scouts. She was thrilled that twice the members of her Brownie and Girl Scout troops, who live across the United States and in Canada, made the extraordinary effort to visit her in Virginia. This was more than 50 years after their last Scout meeting.

She was a member of the PEO Sisterhood (Chapter GA). She also served as an Elder and on various committees of the First Presbyterian Church, of Joplin. She particularly enjoyed her work with the Wedding Guild at the church. She was a member of Century Study Club and Friends of St. Avips. She also served as a docent at the Joplin Museum Complex and on the boards of the Joplin Little Theater and the Womans Club of Joplin.

After moving to Arlington, Va., in her 80's, she remained active as a member of the PEO Sisterhood (Chapter T), the Westminster Presbyterian Church, of Alexandria and the Womens Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; and two sisters, Vail Read, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. and Constance Cherry, of Silver Spring, Md.

She is survived by a daughter, Barbara Jones Fisher, of Alexandria, Va.; a granddaughter, Nicole Fisher Wyman and husband, Thane Wyman, of Houston, Texas; and a grandson, Douglas Fisher, of Sandy Springs, Ga.

A memorial service will be held in the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church in Joplin on April 10, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a reception in the church parlor. Private graveside services will be conducted at Mount Hope Cemetery.

The family suggests with gratitude that contributions in Esthers memory be directed to the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin, 509 S. Pearl Avenue, Joplin, MO 64801 or the Joplin Animal Adoption and Resource Center, 140 E. Emperor Lane, Joplin, MO 64801.

On-line condolences may be sent to the family through our website

Arrangements are under the personal care and direction of the Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary in Joplin, Mo.