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Charles Jones
August 17, 1937 - August 15, 2017

Charles Jones was born in Pleasant Hill, Louisiana the youngest of five children born to Reverend & Mrs. Joseph Jones. His humble beginnings in Pleasant Hill are significant because it was here that he received nurturing and guidance from his parents which helped prepare him to be a good businessman. They instilled in him sound principles about how to live. They taught him self-respect, how to treat others, self-discipline, and were themselves examples of a strong work ethic. Most of all, they encouraged him to always do and be his best – striving for excellence.

With this foundation, a young Charles believed he could achieve anything he desired, and at a very young age, he began dreaming of owning his own business. Though he faced numerous obstacles growing up in a rural southern community (and throughout his life), he didn’t allow these challenges to prevent him from reaching his goals. In fact, he became even more determined to attain them. He always believed that people and/or circumstances don’t define who you are or what you become – you do. He is known for and has lived by this saying “It is not what happens to you in life that is important but how you respond to what happens to you that matters.” His response to adversity was to keep trying, working and praying – always giving his best. He was determined not to give up and because of this dedication, he was a successful man. He was a loving spouse, an excellent father and grandfather; and he was a mentor and role model to many.

Charles completed his early education in Pleasant Hill and graduated with the highest honor as class Valedictorian. With an interest in finance, he continued his education at Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA. He came to California in the 1950’s and later served in the United States Army as a Finance Specialist. During his enlistment, he was awarded the “Key to the City” while stationed in Olympia Washington. Charles also received special recognition from the then Governor Albert Roselini, for outstanding service. During this time, he married Jean Brown and to this union, one child was born – their daughter, Sandra.

Upon receiving an honorable discharge from the Army, he furthered his education at both the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science in preparation for realizing his dream. After graduating and receiving his National Board Certification by the Funeral Service Examining Boards of the United States, Inc., he then commenced to further develop his expertise by working with several mortuaries in the Bay Area. While serving families in their time of need, he still held on to his dream – to build a mortuary that the residents would be proud of.

In 1970, he united in marriage to Rosie M. Ross who shared in his dream. In the interim, his financial background and qualifications allowed him to work for several companies in the Bay Area including Banneker Systems in Menlo Park where he served as the Financial Analyst for over 10 years. He was also highly sought after by others across the nation. Electronic Data Systems (EDS), a company owned by Henry Ross Perot (who would later run for President of the United States) twice offered him a position. After receiving the offer, he would later reflect that prior to making a decision, “I went home to my birthplace and on the banks of a creek that we fished and swam in as children, I laid my head on the open palms of my hand and stared at the clear blue skies and pondered what my decision should be. Contrary to the advise of my wife, my parents and my friends, I decided I would not take the offer, regardless of the size of the compensation, which was quite substantial. I realized that I was worth at least three or four times what I was being offered …and to the chagrin of my wife, my parents and friends, I declined the offer.”

Charles never lost sight of his dream. It was his desire to serve families during one of the most difficult periods of their lives. His dream was to build a mortuary and provide quality service to the residents of East Palo Alto and its surrounding communities.

In 1972, he established Jones Mortuary, Inc. and in 1975, the family moved to East Palo Alto when construction of the mortuary began.

In March 1976, the doors of Jones Mortuary, Inc. opened. Upon opening, the Jones’s developed a policy to help couples who lost their young babies. They provided complete funeral services, free of charge, for babies under one month old whose family could not afford burial expenses. This commitment was born out of an experience his wife Rose had as a small child when her mother gave birth to a baby boy who died, and her parents were unable to pay the mortuary fees. When they opened Jones Mortuary, Charles and Rose decided to do what they could to help families in similar situations. To date, he has provided free services for thousands of infants.

Known for his empathetic knack for being the calm in the emotional storm that follows the death of loved ones, Charles built a business that adeptly walks people through the details of saying final farewells to family and friends. On several occasions, Jones Mortuary has been recommended by members of the community to families who are in financial distress when the death of a loved one occurs. Mr. Jones, through his compassion and caring, has helped them to arrange services that were dignified, yet affordable. He was also known to help those with no financial ability to bury loved ones.

Charles was very community minded and lived a life that demonstrated his commitment to serve and give to others. This was seen in several ways. He was an avid proponent of local businesses. Charles always insisted on meeting in local eateries with people who were prospecting for his business. “I always tell them that if they want my business, then they should be willing to spend money in the community that accounts for the bulk of my clientele.”

Charles worked to help the local and surrounding communities by using his business success to give back. Specifically, he volunteered his time to local organizations; provided financial support to various groups which assisted with their building efforts and served to underwrite the costs of their outreach programs and ministries; and he has advertised with almost every minority organization that has contacted him since being in business. Charles participated in numerous career day activities and other speaking engagements, provided on-site tours, worked with the Menlo Park Police Department’s “Say No to Drugs” program, and he assisted a local grassroots substance abuse rehabilitation & support center. Charles also served on the Advisory Council for the Department of Mortuary Science at American River College in Sacramento and did so for almost fifteen years.

Viewing Service Final Disposition
Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Time: 12 noon to 3 p.m.
Place: Jones Mortuary Chapel
Address: 660 Donoe Street
City, State: East Palo Alto, CA 94303
Quiet Hour: 5: p.m. to 7 p.m.
St. Francis of Assisi, 1425 Bay
Date: Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Time: 11 a.m.
Place: Abundant Life Christian Fellowship
Address: 2440 Leghorn Street
City, State: Mountain View, CA
City, State:


Mr. Charles Jones was generous with his advice to new widows as he was to organizations that solicited his help in fundraising.

When I needed his services at the passing of my husband in 1984, he sat with me and gave me great advice about being careful about who I let into my life. He said that when people die those around you think you get a lot of money and will try everything they can to take advantage of you at a most difficult time. Mr. Jones was truly a wonderful caring businessman.
Posted by Mary F. Flamer, on Aug 29, 2017 at 8:25 pm

To the Jones family,

We would like to send our sincerest sympathy in behalf of the passing of Mr.Jones.

Mr. Jones has served the community very honorably. He has not only offered excellent service in the burial of loved ones (Campbell, Carter, Culclager, Woolfolk)in my family but have personally taken care of a very sensative moment for Brian and I with the burial of our son Brandon. No words could express the gratitude that we have. As some people journey through life, they leave footprints wherever they go- footprints of kindness and love, courage and compassion, humor and inspiration, joy and faith. Mr. Jones is a testament of a "Journey Remembered".

Thank you all in advance for carrying on his legacy.

With love and the utmost respect💗

Brian and Monique Carter
Posted by Brian and Monique Carter daughter of Robert L. Campbell Sr., on Aug 29, 2017 at 10:22 pm

In my family time of need Mr. Jones got us through by helping/advising my family getting the burial expenses paid for my father, nephew, cousins and other loved ones during these tough and trying times. We have a saying in our. Samoan cultre, "A hero is laid to rest and another hero rises. Ia manuia lou malaga Mr. Jones". The Tito family.
Posted by Lepaga Tito, on Aug 30, 2017 at 9:47 am

Because of Mr. Jones persistent advice to read a book called "think and grow rich" I was inspired to follow a dream and a passion to become a P.A. Physicians Assistant!

I had just started working for Stanford Hosp operating room and I remember after reading the book running to his office and we talked for hours about it! I remember him telling me D'Wayne you are your only limitation!" Well because he took interest in me and our community, and our people, I did the same! I'm in interventional radiology and nephrology (liver and kidney) and I pour into my people and community here in Atlanta just as he did for me and our community! Thank you Mr. Jones! RIH!
Posted by I am because of you!, on Sep 5, 2017 at 1:53 pm

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