Decorated Veteran and Business Leader Ralph Jones Jr. Dies

headshot of Ralph Jones Jr.
Ralph Jones. Jr.

Ralph Jones Jr., chair emeritus of the Jones Family of Companies, died June 4 in Humboldt, Tennessee. He was 95.

In 1949, after obtaining a degree in textile engineering from North Carolina State University, Jones joined his father in the family business, then known as Jones Manufacturing Co. His father Ralph Jones Sr. and his uncle Ted Jones founded the business in 1936 as a processor of recycled textile byproducts. Today the company manufactures an array of textile products for a number of industry sectors, including bedding, and operates two divisions, Jones Yarns and Jones Nonwovens.  

Jones Jr. was a highly decorated veteran of World War II who enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with valor in the European theater. In addition to earning a Purple Heart, he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, the European Theater Ribbon with four battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.

During his work career, Jones rose through the ranks in the family business — internal operations, plant manager, vice president of manufacturing — before taking the reins as president, chief executive officer and chair.

Throughout his career and his life he played an integral role in the textile industry and in his community, said his son Ralph Jones III, current Jones Family of Cos. executive chair. “He led our manufacturing operations in a manner that espoused our Christian mindset of honoring and respecting others. This further played out in our commitment to the industries we serve. Hard decisions require a moral compass and, for over 50 years, my dad ensured our moral compass was in place. As good of a manufacturing engineer as he was, he excelled in leading and honoring others.”

Jones Jr. had a long record of community service filled with honors and accolades. He held leadership roles on the local school board, the chamber of commerce and the Jaycees. He also spent decades as a Little League and youth basketball coach. His legacy includes sports facilities in the city and county named in his honor.  

He was married for 69 years to the former Bettie Jean “BJ” Graves who predeceased him in 2016. Survivors include their four children, 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

The family requests remembrances be made in his honor to the Boys & Girls Club of Humboldt, P.O. Box 851, Humboldt, Tennessee 38343.

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