Clyde 'Pop' Jones, 91, cook at Camden's Cathedral Kitchen
He spent years as a cook feeding the impoverished. Many considered him a mentor.
When Clyde Jones was cooking at Cathedral Kitchen, some would say his creations could be smelled all across Camden, especially if he were barbecuing his famous ribs. Even well into his 80s, Mr. Jones, affectionately known as "Pop," made hundreds of meals per month for needy Camden residents, memorizing his recipes and always cooking with a smile.
Mr. Jones, 91, of Deptford, died Sunday, April 9, at Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury after complications related to an enlarged heart.
Mr. Jones grew up in Mississippi and Louisiana. At age 16, he went into the Army, serving for 22 years. He spent time in Europe during World War II and was present for the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in South Germany in 1945. He retired in 1964 as an E5 sergeant from Fort Dix.
He continued living in South Jersey, working as a customer service representative for Echelon Ford in Stratford before meeting his wife, Theresa, through the match-making of tellers at their Stratford bank.
The couple wed in 1991 and began a life together in Lindenwold. The couple enjoyed fostering children, later adopting three boys from foster care.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Jones and his wife began volunteering as cooks at Cathedral Kitchen. The nonprofit organization serves meals to impoverished families from throughout Camden. In 1995, they became the kitchen's two full-time chefs.
"Pop couldn't even go out of the building without someone saying hello. Everyone in Camden knew him and loved him," said Karen Talarico, executive director of Cathedral Kitchen, who worked with the Joneses for more than 10 years.
Jonathan Jernigan, the kitchen's executive chef, thought of Mr. Jones as a mentor when he first came to the kitchen in 2008.
"He told me when I got there, 'Who's this boy here? What's your plan, boy?'" Jernigan said. "And I told him, 'It's my first day, I don't have a plan yet.' But that was just him. He always wanted people to have a plan."
Mr. Jones ushered at his church, Waters Christian Community Center, for more than 27 years. Just a few weeks ago, though with swollen feet, Mr. Jones insisted upon going to church to usher, opting to wear his bedroom slippers for comfort, his wife said.
"That's how dedicated a man he was. He loved God and loved his church," she said. "He just had so much love for everyone around him. He always loved people and fed them."
Besides his wife, Mr. Jones is survived by his three sons, a daughter from a previous relationship, four stepsons, one stepdaughter, 26 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 15, at Waters Christian Community Center, 274 Delsea Dr., Sewell, N.J. 08080. Interment will follow at Gloucester County Memorial Veterans Cemetery, Monroe Township.
Condolences may be sent to the family at the church's address above.