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Don Jones passes away (Drew University)

Minister Donald G. Jones of Madison met Hillary Rodham-Clinton in the beginning of his pastoral career, years before she became a recognizable political figure. The connection made for a lasting, life-long impression on both of them -- in her book, she called him an influential person in her life.

Jones, a veteran of the conflict in Korea who taught many over the years -- as a Westfield minister and as a long-time professor at Drew University in Madison -- died Thursday. He was 78.

"He was an institution, a mentor to a whole generation of students, and a pastor to...others," said former governor and Drew University president Tom Kean.

Jones taught social ethics at Drew for 36 years and authored eight books.

I took some of his classes on ethics (he taught in the undergraduate department of religion). It was the first time I met someone who's liberalism was based in his religion. Before then I thought all religious poeple were conservative. It changed my life.

Senior year and shortly after I worked with him on the indexing and layout of his book, "Sports Ethics in America". He needed 2 very complicated indexes genated and I came up with WordPerfect macros that would do 90% of the work.

The last two times I met him both involved the Clintons.

One was in 1992. We met for lunch so he could give me a personal copy of the book. During lunch he told me all these great stories about this young governor he knew that was running for president. I learned a lot about Bill Clinton in that conversation. In fact, something he said foreshadowed the scandals that would happen. Though, the most interesting thing he said at the time was that Bill Clinton couldn't reconcile his deep-seated belief in the woman's right to choose vs. what he thought he read in the bible. So Bill went to a seminary for six months and studied until he could bridge the gap. I was always amazed at that story. Considering that the religious right was always beating on him, it would have been interesting to have left-wing religious leaders reveal that story about Bill. If that had happened maybe Bill would have become presi... um... gotten re-elect.. um... oh yeah.

The last time was at the Drew Reunion Weekend (sort of like Homecoming at other schools) in 2006. Don was very frail and I knew it wouldn't be much longer for him. Don was very excited that Hillary Clinton was going to be running for president. We had a few laughs about old times and I haven't seen him since.

Good bye, Don.

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Thanks for posting this--I probably wouldn't have heard, otherwise. I took several classes with Don, and remember really butting heads with him in a seminar; it wasn't until a couple years ago that I heard about his connection to the Clintons. I didn't realize you had helped him with his book.

I'm sure I can dig up a few more stories.

I remember you telling me that you butted heads in seminar, but I also remember him writing on one of your papers that it was the best paper he had ever read in his entire career. I'm sure he wasn't exaggerating.


I regret I never got to know him after my extreme radical phase, because he was really a classic liberal, which is a type I have a hell of a lot more appreciation for these days. (And I feel kind of sorry for him stuck with me as a student--I was the type of student that drives me crazy sometimes as a teacher: smart and well-read but very ideological and argumentative.)

How did you end up working on his book?

I don't remember how he thought to contact me. Maybe because I had indexed Carline Coughlin's book. Basically the book is one HUGE bibliography and he wanted two indexes: by topic and by author. I think it pushed wordperfect to its indexing limit.

If I was doing it today, I would write a program that would do it for me and it would be done in a week or two.

I misread this as a headline one might imagine right about now if Bush were still in office:
Dow Jones passes away

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