JONES, BESS HARRIS (1913 ~ 2007). The following is an obituary for Bess Harris Jones, spouse of Judge Herman Jones. The obituary was published in the November 11, 2007 edition of the Austin American Statesman.
"Bess Harris Jones, longtime civic volunteer and widow of Judge Herman Jones, died Friday, November 9th. The family will receive friends on Monday, November 12th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd. Services will be held in the sanctuary of the University United Methodist Church, 24th and Guadalupe, at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 13, 2007 (parking is available at the Platinum Parking Lot at 25th and Guadalupe). Burial will follow at the Texas State Cemetery.
Bess was born in Smithville, Texas in 1913, the first of four daughters to Bess Nichols and Robert Kinkle Harris. She attended Kidd Key College and Austin College in Sherman before receiving a bachelor of journalism degree from The University of Texas in 1934. During her time at U.T., she was a member of the Glee Club, the Curtain Club, and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
After graduation, she went to Dallas and worked on the staff of the Texas Centennial, but returned to Austin in 1937 to marry Herman Jones, a legislator from Wise County who later formed law partnerships with Homer Thornberry and then his brother, Perry L. Jones, before becoming a state district judge in 1961.
Bess began her career in Austin as a writer for the Texas Employment Commission and then became a reporter for the Austin American Statesman. Later, she was public information director for the Texas Tuberculosis Association before joining the Development Office at The University of Texas at Austin, where she retired.
However, her life's work was in volunteer service to others. After learning of the severe disabilities of her son, Harris, she devoted the rest of her life to bettering the lives and opportunities of the disabled. She was the founding president of the Austin Cerebral Palsy Center (now Austin Rehabilitation Center), first president of the Volunteer Council at the Austin State School, chairperson of the committee to build the chapel at the State School, and served on the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. In 1962, she was named 'Austin's Most Worthy Citizen.'
Additionally, she served on the Governor's Committee on Tuberculosis and chaired the Building and Grounds Committee at the University United Methodist Church for 20 years. The Church's building maintenance fund is named in her honor.
In later years, she became a member of the founding board of the Austin Community Foundation and was recently made a member emeritus of that board. She was a sustaining member of the Junior League of Austin.
Bess was predeceased by husband, Herman; son, Harris; and sister, Virginia Harris Cockrell. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Robin and Malcolm Cooper and their four children and families: Doug Cooper; Cissy and Mark Warner, and their children, Claire and Charlotte; Bess and Clay Carsner, and their children, Ben Robin, and Sam; and Chris Cooper; her son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Jane Jones and their four children and families: Joshua Jones; Nathan and Sarah Jones and their son, River; Alexis Jones; and Jesse Brandenburg. She is also survived by two sisters, Marian Harris Thornberry and Carolyn Harris Hynson, and a multitude of first, second, and third generation nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to offer its deepest gratitude to the staff at Westminster Manor and Health Care Unit, and particularly, to Mom's caregivers and friends, Jane Taylor, Janie Rivera, Della Barron, and Peggy Davis. Thank you. You are a blessing. Additional appreciation to all who called, reached out to us, or offered your silent prayers.
Contributions may be made to the Volunteer Council at the Austin State School on West 35th St., Austin; the Bess Harris Jones Fund at the University United Methodist Church; or the Austin Community Foundation."
Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.