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John Jones, retired educator taught in high schools, colleges, prisons Feb. 11, 1931 -- July 2, 2007

John Paul Jones, a retired educator who taught in high schools, colleges and even prisons, died Monday in the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga. He was 76.

Born in Sioux Falls, S.D., Mr. Jones earned his bachelor's degree at the University of South Dakota and his master's degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame. Afterward, he took his first teaching job at a high school in Yankton, S.D.

In 1954, Mr. Jones moved to Metz, France, to become an education adviser to the Army. His stateside sweetheart, Vonnie Bauer, joined him there, and they were married. While living in Europe, the couple and their two sons traveled extensively throughout France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain.

Upon returning to the United States in 1958, Mr. Jones took a job as the only teacher at a high school of 48 students in rural Waterbury, Neb. The school had only 150 books, so every weekend Mr. Jones would travel to Sioux City, Iowa, to raid the public library for books for his students.

His next job was as a social studies teacher in the Milwaukee suburb of White Fish Bay. When he became eligible for a sabbatical, Mr. Jones enrolled in a doctoral program in political science at Duke University. After completing his studies there, he moved to Amherst in 1964 and taught political science at both the University at Buffalo and Fredonia State College.

Mr. Jones was elected to the Amherst School Board in 1969 and served as board president. He ended his term in 1975. He moved to Hamburg in 1984 and to Buffalo in 2006.

He also taught Advanced Placement history at West Seneca West High School and was principal of Gowanda Junior High School. While at Gowanda, he became a curriculum coordinator for the Seneca Nation of Indians. He also taught at several high schools in Buffalo.

Mr. Jones taught college-level courses at night to inmates of both Attica and Collins correctional facilities.

After his retirement in 1999, Mr. Jones found time to travel to Greece, Turkey, Mexico, China, Egypt and throughout the Canada and the United States. He also audited classes at UB, including myth and religion, music theory, oceanography, music appreciation and contemporary Chinese literature.

In addition to his wife of 53 years, Mr. Jones is survived by two sons, Michael and Patrick.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. July 22 in Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave.


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