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Former Education College Dean Franklin Jones Dies

Franklin Ross JonesFranklin Ross Jones, right, with an Old Dominion student.

Franklin Ross Jones, former dean of Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education, died June 29 in Tampa, Fla.

Jones, who was appointed dean of what was then the School of Education of Old Dominion College in February 1964, was dean emeritus and professor emeritus of educational leadership and counseling at ODU for more than 40 years.

"He was the one who hired me," said Katharine Kersey, University Professor of Early Childhood Education and a long-time faculty member of the Darden College. "He loved ODU and stayed around a long time after he retired - walking the halls and talking to people. He was always interested in helping with the Joy Fund each Christmas."

Jones came to ODU after heading the education department at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. He had completed his Ed.D. at Duke University in 1959, after completing a master's degree at the University of North Carolina in 1951.

When he took over as dean of education from the school's first dean, Ross Fink, Jones made it a goal to stress subject matter expertise in the school's education students. "The fundamental basis of teaching at the secondary level is subject matter," Jones told The Virginian-Pilot in an interview when he started in the position. "I'd like to see a math or English teacher, for example, have nearly as many semester hours in his field of concentration, as he'd have if he were majoring in it instead of education."

Jones remained dean until July 1969, succeeded by Rufus Tonelson, professor of education, who died in 2006. In a 1974 interview with University Archivist James Sweeney, Tonelson said replacing Jones as dean was a daunting task.

"He had done so much to enlarge the school and make it prestigious," Tonelson said. "I felt it would be very, very challenging and I really hoped I could succeed in carrying out the philosophy and the policies of the college at that time."

In 2008, Jones was inducted into the Brewton-Parker College (Mount Vernon, Ga.) Sports Hall of Fame, along with the players from the school's 1946 football team. Jones was the head coach.

Jones is survived by his son Franklin Ross Jones Jr. of Reidsville, N.C. and Clarence Morton Jones (Barbara) of Tampa; daughter, Susan Jones Richardson (Robert) of Portland, Ore.; and grandchildren, Andrew Morton Jones, Kyle Adair Jones, and Lurline Margreth Richardson.

Recently he was a resident of Aston Gardens in Tampa.