The Greatest Man I Ever Met

On October 30, 2007 the greatest man I have ever known slipped the surly bonds of earth and kissed the face of God.

A life well lived, a song well sung, a sermon well preached, a love properly given. No one felt that almost 75 years was long enough, but we didn’t want to see the strong, manly hero we had followed live in a worn, decrepit body either. So we gathered that morning without anyone calling us together—we each came separately to the room where Daddy was resting.

As we measured his respirations decreasing we ignored the counsel of the nursing staff telling us to call for them at a particular time. Standing around Daddy’s bed were the children he fathered and the woman who birthed them for him…we held his big hands, stroked his handsome face and reiterated our love for him. My youngest daughter had written him a beautiful, personal, heartfelt note and I read it to him, and my siblings each took their time talking to Daddy, too. I watched as my mother showed great love to the lover of her life as we sensed him moving down the hall of eternity.

His breathing slowed and we measured it with a clock on the wall. It was 7:55 AM on the 12th floor of a hospital in The Medical Center in Houston, Texas, when the angels arrived at the bedside of Franklin Garner Jones; my bishop, my mentor, my friend and my daddy. The angels had to elbow their way in because my brother, my sister and her husband, and my mother and I were standing around the bed watching the beautiful and horrific story unfold.

And just as Dad had done with every struggle he ever faced in his whole life, he nailed death. He didn’t back up to death, he didn’t run from death, and although he wasn’t looking for death, he embraced death as the strong man he always was.

He exhaled life.

The kindest, gentlest, strongest man that I have ever known went to be with Jesus three years ago today, and I miss him.

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Comments (6)

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed being around Frank Jones. I have vague memories of him in the early 60's, and then really great memories of him in the 80's until his passing. So much of who he is shines through his children. What a blessing these generation of Jones' are to so many around the world. Blessings to you all.

  2. Iam reading your blog about our friend Frank with tears and an ache in my heart. Simply-i miss him.Delb and I miss him.All the 46 years of our BFF relationship with Frank & Joyce,we never missed more than a few weeks of being together. It was always fun, joy, and Godly sharing. There were always encouraging words, lessons learned just from being friends with them. Joyce and I had so much fun making fun of the guys’ incorrect pronunciations or names. Frank’s name for me was always “Eller” and I just assumed he didn’t know how to say Eloise, but one day he surprised me!
    I miss the trips and the non-stop conversations. I even miss the one-sided phone talks he and Delbert had and then trying to get D to remember what Frank told him that made him laugh so hard. I miss Frank’s friendship for Delbert. It’s left a vacant spot for him I know.
    I loved the loving way he always treated Joyce–there were never any awkward moments in all our hours together. Theirs was a love to be at ease with and patterned after. We enjoyed that since ours was much the same. As you know, not all are.
    From my heart–I’m feeling really “homesick” to see my friend, Frank Jones.

  3. Praying for you today Pastor Brett! Great blog. It really expressed your love and admiration for your dad. Today was two months for me. I totally understand.encouraged by watching you and Scott walk ahead of me through this. You’ve left a clear path for me to follow!

  4. Frank Jones was a great man. I remember him from Crusader camps in Lufkin and always left inspired and challenged by his teaching that I was able to hear while being in services at Mt. Houston. Love the Jones family!

  5. I never knew him personally, but I am meeting him through you and Pastor Scott. Thanks for sharing the greatest man you ever met. One day, I'll meet him to. I look forward to it.