Edmund Jones, 101, of Swarthmore, a lawyer, bank founder, and elected public official, died Saturday, Sept. 14, of pulmonary fibrosis in the hospice residence at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park.
Mr. Jones was active until last Christmas, when he began to have health problems. He credited his long life to walking. In younger days, he sometimes walked home the 2.5 miles from his office in Media; much later, he frequently walked a quarter-mile on a health club track.
“This is why I’m still here,” he told his daughter Linda Jones McKee.
A Swarthmore resident for almost nine decades, Mr. Jones was born in Chester to Henry Walter and Margaret Witmer Jones. In 1930, the family moved to Swarthmore, where he graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1935 and from Swarthmore College in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
He enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and in 1941, at the end of his second year, married his undergraduate classmate, Adalyn F. Purdy, known as “Lyn.” They were together until her death in 2013.
After receiving his law degree in 1942, Mr. Jones joined his father in the Chester law firm of Jones & Jones, which had been founded in 1876 by his grandfather, also named Edmund Jones.
He was drafted into the Army in December 1942 and sent to France in January 1945 as a captain in a heavy automotive maintenance company. Later that year, he was transferred to the Judge Advocate General’s Office in Frankfurt, Germany. He assisted with the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials by taking depositions from witnesses to war crimes. He was honorably discharged in June 1946.
Once back in his office, Mr. Jones handled probate and real estate matters. He and his father founded two financial institutions, the Industrial Savings & Loan Association of Chester and the First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Chester. First Federal became the First Keystone Bank, which merged with Bryn Mawr Trust Co. in 2010.
Mr. Jones held various elective offices, including mayor of Swarthmore from 1966 to 1971, Republican state representative from the 161st District from 1971 to 1974, member and chair of the Swarthmore Borough Authority from 1985 to 1989, and member of the Delaware County Council in 1987 and 1988.
Mr. Jones served on the SEPTA board of directors from 1989 to 1996. He was a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Swarthmore and the Chester Rotary Club.
A founding member of the Swarthmore Centennial Foundation, Mr. Jones helped raise more than $1 million for charitable scholarships and community projects. He was the foundation’s chairman from its inception in 1993 until 2012.
In 1964, after the death of his son, Edmund A. Jones, Mr. Jones and his wife established the Edmund A. Jones Memorial Scholarship. The fund is administered by Swarthmore College and benefits high-school graduates in Pennsylvania who cannot afford college.
While serving with the Army in France, Mr. Jones got used to traveling. Later, he visited all seven continents and hiked to the high point in every state except Alaska. He had goals for his trips and happily completed each one, his daughter said.
His favorite place was Lake Paupac in the Poconos, where in 1953 he and his wife designed and built a cottage with a great room open to the rafters. He built a wooden sailboat and enjoyed watching birds from the cottage’s deck.
The entire family spent his 101st birthday in April recounting his favorite jokes. “We laughed and laughed,” his daughter said.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his second wife, Donna Kay Jones; daughters Eleta Ann Jones and Nancy Elizabeth Jones; stepdaughter Lisa Croddy; six grandchildren; a stepgrandson; and seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial meeting for worship will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Swarthmore Friends Meeting, 12 Whittier Place, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081. Burial is private.
Donations may be made to the Swarthmore Friends Meeting at the address above, or to the Swarthmore Centennial Foundation, Box 493, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081.