Home Youth jerseys Sports Chronicle: Gary Jones was a good man gone too soon – The Vicksburg Post

Sports Chronicle: Gary Jones was a good man gone too soon – The Vicksburg Post


Anyone who has ever played organized sports in their childhood remembers the names of the teams in which they played.

Seemingly random local businesses around town are a part of our lives forever as we proudly represent them for a year or two. However, we rarely think about the names on the jerseys and the people who made this segment of our childhood so enjoyable.

It’s time to take a minute to change that.

Over the past decade, when Gary Jones wasn’t busy ridding Vicksburg of vermin with his pest control department, he was often working to develop fast-paced softball in the city. Jones was a board member of the Vicksburg Girls Softball Association for five years, coaching teams, sponsoring teams, and doing everything he could behind the scenes to help the league thrive.

“He was a great guy,” said Mike Foley, another longtime VGSA board member. “He supported us when we needed it. He coached a team when we needed him. He sponsors a team each year. One year he sponsored two teams.

Jones had many hobbies – hunting, fishing, boating – but obviously softball wasn’t one of them until his granddaughter Kyleigh Cooper started playing the sport at a young age.

Foley remembers first meeting Jones seven or eight years ago when his grandfather and granddaughter were playing catch in the Bazinsky fields.

“I was at the stadium and I was preparing for something or the other. This guy comes in and has this little girl with him, and he catches for her. She’s trying to learn how to throw,” Foley said. “The next time I saw him, I gave him a set of throwing skills and drills because he didn’t know anything about it. He was just over there letting her throw pitches and he was catching pitches.

Foley and Jones quickly became friends and Jones quickly became one of the VGSA’s top supporters and volunteers. Softball became a passion for Jones and his support for not only Kyleigh but all the girls in town playing the sport never wavered.

“His granddaughter loved playing there and he supported her. He wanted to support her, and then he fell in love with her,” said Gary Jackson, the current chairman of VGSA’s board of directors. “He helped with the concession stand, he helped with the scoreboard…he helped with just about everything we asked him to do.”

Unfortunately, three years ago, Jones encountered something that ultimately ended his service: cancer.

Jones fought him, rallied to his deathbed at one point, and appeared to have beaten him. A few weeks ago, however, the cancer returned in force. Last weekend Jones lost the long battle and died at the age of 65. He was buried on Thursday.

“He was an awesome guy,” Jackson said. “You couldn’t ask for a better guy than him. He will be greatly missed. »

The hundreds of young girls who represented Gary Jones Pest Control on the Vicksburg youth softball fields will never forget the name. Hopefully the rest of us won’t either.

Gary Jones was the kind of man who was hard to find – a good man who gave his time, his energy and his money, in more or less important ways, to make the world a little better.

The world lost a good man this week. We need more.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of the Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at [email protected]