Theodore Howard Jones died peacefully on March 4, 2023, in Athens, Georgia. A resident of Carrollton, Georgia for fifty years until 2021, Howard was the husband of Lois Jones, the father of three children and grandfather of five, a dentist and leader in his profession, an active member of his church, an avid gardener and a competitor in every sport he played.
Howard’s life began in Tallassee, Alabama on November 13, 1942, as the first child and only son of Theodore and Flora Jean Jones, young parents who had moved from farms in search of opportunity in the mill town. Howard’s mother endowed him with her competitive Scotch-Irish spirit and instilled in him a certitude that with hard work and dedication, he would become anything he desired. On hunting and fishing outings with his father, Howard discovered his lifelong love of the outdoors and curiosity about the natural world. In school, scouting, sports and other endeavors, Howard set his aims on a high trajectory.
He was the first person in his family to attend university, at Birmingham-Southern College. There, he attained his life’s most cherished accomplishment in winning the affection of Lois Greene Seals. And that was no easy achievement, thanks to Lois’ playfully mocking style. When he first tried out wearing contact lenses at school, Lois greeted him as “Blinky” as he emerged from his dorm room. But he characteristically persevered, working his way into her heart to become her husband in 1966. Lois was Howard’s lifelong love and guide. Even as his mind and memory slipped in recent years from Alzheimer’s, he repeated often – and to the end – that she was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Howard graduated from dental school at the University of Alabama and became exceptionally dedicated to his profession. As a Carrollton family dentist for half a century, he cared for thousands in the community and strongly identified himself in this role. With support from the local dentist community, Howard assumed increasing leadership responsibilities within the profession. He eventually served as president of the Georgia Dental Association in the 90s, as president of the American Dental Association from 2002-2003, and then as a U.S. representative to an international dental group, allowing him and Lois to travel far and wide and to form many new friendships.
Moving to Carrollton was a deliberate choice for Howard and Lois. Nestled halfway between their two native homes in Alabama, it seemed it would be an excellent place to make their life. And it was. They knitted themselves into the fabric of the community, making lifelong friends with whom they raised children and celebrated milestones together. Howard served for many years as a rotating teacher for his Sunday School class at First United Methodist Church. He was an active member of the Carrollton Rotary Club. He volunteered with other local dentists to bring care to Carrollton residents who could not otherwise afford it.
Howard thrived on the discipline, fraternity and fun of sports. Having played football, basketball and baseball as a child, he became a devoted tennis player as an adult, competing in regional leagues. No doubt the echoes of his self-admonishments (“HOWARD!”) can still be heard on tennis courts. In his later years, he took up golf, playing regularly with a group of Carrollton friends, and was invited to join a group of dental colleagues, “the Insultants,” on regular golf trips.
Howard was immensely proud of the home and life that he and Lois built for themselves and their children in Carrollton. Their first child, Ted, was born during Howard’s two years of military service following dental school, and Amy and Dan followed in the years after their move to Carrollton in 1972. Howard was especially supportive of his children in sports, supplying them with plenty of private coaching. When they played games together at home, he relished the contests. And he didn’t just let them win; that had to be earned. Giving his children the enriching opportunities that Howard’s own parents had been unable to provide him – such as summer camps, vacations and books – was especially fulfilling to Howard, and for him a fundamental mark of his success in life. He passed on to his children his loves of nature, sports and lifelong learning, and nurtured in them the self-improvement ethos that had propelled him upward from Tallassee.
Howard is survived by his wife Lois; sister Brenda and brother-in-law Bill Brigadier in Madison, Alabama; son Ted and daughter-in-law Miranda Kennedy in Washington, DC; daughter Amy and son-in-law Mark Abbe, in Athens, Georgia; son Dan and daughter-in-law Emily Jones in Alexandria, Virginia; and grandchildren Olivia Jones, Henry Abbe, Annie Jones, Helena Jones and Penelope Abbe.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 27 at the Carrollton First United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer's Foundation or a favorite local charity.
Lord and Stephens, East, Athens, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com
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