Thomas Jones Obituary (2021) – Greensboro, North Carolina

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Jones, Jr., Thomas Owen

June 24, 1935 – October 11, 2021

The early hours of October 11, 2021 marked the passing of Dr. Thomas O. Jones Jr., a scholar, a gentleman, an adventurer, a good man who is not afraid to embark on an economic adventure, and above all, to those who knew him, a trusted friend. He and his wife Nancy Collins enjoyed traveling with friends to places like Turkey, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Sweden.

Dr Jones was Emeritus Professor of Commerce at the University of Carolina, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Prior to coming to Carolina University, he was dean of two business schools and established the business program at Greensboro College. As Founder, Former CEO and Chairman of BillPayers, Inc, a pioneer in electronic bill payment, Dr. Jones has brought considerable experience and expertise to the study of business and leadership.

Tom’s formal education included a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in business administration from George Washington University. In academia, he has been actively involved in the publication of business articles and journals, contributing to journals such as the Harvard Business Review and presenting his research findings at conferences across the United States.

Growing up in Arlington, Virginia, his father was a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. His high school rowing team won the national schoolchildren rowing championship in his junior and senior years. Continuing his athletic endeavors for four years at the University of Pennsylvania, he was on the soccer and rowing teams; rowers winning the Grand Challenge Cup at British Henley; the world championship in non-Olympic years. Tom won silver medals at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics (sculls). In service to his country, Dr Jones was a naval aviator piloting fighters from aircraft carriers as part of his duties in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.

Dr Jones has been active in his community as a former Presbyterian, a former Young Men’s Bible Class teacher at the First Presbyterian in Greensboro, and a member of the North Carolina Prison Ministries Board of Directors. He has been actively involved in Kiwanis and Rotary as well as in the United Way and the Salvation Army.

After his active service as a fighter pilot in the Navy, Petroleum Helicopters (PHI), of Lafayette, LA hired him as a commercial helicopter pilot flying in some of the most remote areas of the planet for companies active in the oil industry.

During this four-year endeavor, he flew to many parts of the world for various oil companies. During a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, it was trapped on a small guard well about 100 miles from shore and in winds over 130 miles per hour. After strapping himself and his helicopter to the landing deck, he observed, all night long, green water breaking onto the deck and his helicopter about 60 feet above normal water level. When he arrived ashore the next day, he changed his life orientation and became a student at what is now the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, LA. He became a test pilot for PHI and earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and economics.

George Washington University was his next stop and to pay for living expenses he became Captain Dan in the 1260 helicopter, broadcasting the morning and evening rush hour traffic to listeners on the WWDC radio station. There he obtained his MBA and Doctorate in Business and went to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT as an Associate Professor of Management. He then became Associate Dean and Acting Dean of the College of Business at Loyola University, New Orleans. It was here that he met an artist who motivated him to create an art business that became Galleries One with 22 outlets in major cities. He then became the dean who obtained accreditation of the School of Business of Eastern Illinois University by the AACSB. After four years, the fine arts sector grew to the point that it had to leave academia to become a full-time CEO.

Dr. Jones previously served as Fred L. Proctor, Sr. Distinguished Professor of Business and President, Division of Business at Greensboro College, Greensboro, NC, and Strategist at Staub Leadership Consultants. He was also on the founding faculty of the Executive MBA program at Queens University, Charlotte, North Carolina, and was on the Executive MBA faculty at Wake Forest University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

He moved the fine arts business headquarters to Greensboro, North Carolina, where he became an instructor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. After that, he began his teaching position at Greensboro College where he created the business program, designed the courses and hired the faculty for the program which quickly grew to forty percent of total enrollment. Along with Mr. Proctor and several other investors, he created one of the first companies to offer a personal bill payment service. This business became the bill payment service of the First Union National Bank. Soon after, Bank of America and then Norwest Bank in Minneapolis which merged with Wells Fargo used the service. Shortly thereafter, CitiBank became the fifth major bank to use the service, and this system now offers bill payment service to all North American banks.

Surviving is his loving wife, Nancy S. Collins; his sons, Douglas Thomsson, Stephen Collins-Thomsson and his wife, Lindsey, their daughter, Cali; Friends W&L; university associates, students and many close friends.

A celebration of Dr. Thomas Owen Jones, Jr. will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at the Lineberry Center, 515 N. Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27401.

Donations in Tom’s memory can be made to the Guilford County Animal Shelter, 4525 W. Wendover Ave, Greensboro, NC 27409; or any animal rescue company of your choice.

Online condolences can be presented at www.haneslineberryfhnorthelm.com.

Posted by Greensboro News & Record on October 17, 2021.

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