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Dorothy Rice Jones, a retired Philadelphia schoolteacher, dies at 97

Mrs. Jones was a social worker in Richmond, Va., before she returned to Philadelphia with her family to teach in the Philadelphia public schools.

Dorothy Rice Jones
Dorothy Rice JonesRead moreCourtesy of the Jones family

Dorothy Rice Jones, 97, a retired teacher and administrative assistant in the Philadelphia public schools, died Monday, Sept. 6, at her home in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.

Mrs. Jones was a passionate advocate for education who was also known for her charitable works. She created Club Karma, a group for women who met once a month to make donations to various projects or families in need.

“It was a group of people who wanted to make a difference, and they would give money from their own pockets,” said her daughter, Cheryl Jones-Dix.

The club helped such organizations as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Mercy Hospice, the Maternity Care Coalition, and the Lincoln Day Nursery.

Mrs. Jones started the club because she “was disturbed by the increase in the number of homeless and poverty-stricken people she saw in Philadelphia and she said there must be something someone can do,” a club member who spoke at her funeral said.

Jones-Dix said her mother was also a dedicated teacher.

“She loved teaching and she was diligent about it,“ her daughter said. ”She spent many hours in the evenings preparing charts and diagrams and teaching materials.”

Mrs. Jones began teaching at Logan Elementary in 1965. After four years, she became an administrative assistant at Logan, then at the Overbrook School for the Blind and at Overbrook Education Center, which also serves visually impaired students.

She retired from Overbrook Education Center in June 1990 after a 25-year career, a district spokesperson said.

Dorothy Rice Jones was born in Philadelphia on Feb. 12, 1924, to Sarah Pierce Rice and Walter Rice. She was the eldest of three children and the only girl.

As the United States entered World War II, she graduated from Overbrook High School then worked for two years as a parachute inspector. Afterward, she enrolled at West Virginia State College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1946.

She later met her husband, the Rev. E. Theodore Jones, on a Philadelphia subway platform. They were both returning from taking the national teachers’ exam. She was a substitute teacher, and he was pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

After their December 1947 wedding, they moved to Richmond, Va., where Rev. Jones was the pastor of Riverview Baptist Church and dean of chapel and a professor at Virginia Union University.

Mrs. Jones was a social worker in Richmond. But after the birth of her second child, she stayed home with her children for several years.

Later, the family moved back to Philadelphia when Rev. Jones took a position with the American Baptist Association.

Mrs. Jones began teaching school and obtained a master’s degree in educational administration with certification as a principal from Temple University.

She was a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and was selected as a legend member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter.

Mrs. Jones enjoyed playing bridge, volunteering, and traveling with her husband, especially to the Caribbean. After retiring, she pursued painting and met once a week with other retirees at the Center in the Park community center to develop her art.

She was a volunteer at the Women’s Medical Hospital, where she held premature babies, and at Emlen Elementary, where she was a tutor.

For many years, she was president of the scholarship committee at Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown. She also worked on scholarships at Second Baptist Church of Germantown when her husband took an interim ministerial position there.

When Rev. Jones died in 2003, after 56 years of marriage, Mrs. Jones returned to Salem Baptist Church, now in Abington.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Jones is survived by two sons, Theodore and Eric; two grandchildren; and other relatives.

A celebration of life service was held Thursday, Sept. 16.