‘A good, honest guy’
Jones remembered for hard work, kindness
In a 2017 interview with Eureka Springs Channel’s Melodye Purdy, Berryville contractor Jimmy Jones gazes at a giant hole in a downtown Eureka Springs parking lot. Purdy says she’s heard a lot of good things about Jones from his employees and Jones chuckles.
“Well, good,” he says. “I guess they wanted a raise.”
After Jones’ passing last week, his friends in the community said all those good things were true.
John Cross, who commissioned Jones to repair the parking lot in 2017, said he worked with Jones many times over the years on CS Bank projects. Cross said Jones worked on projects throughout Carroll County and even traveled to Harrison, Huntsville and Missouri to do work for the bank.
“He’s done all our bank jobs. We’ve lost a good man,” Cross said. “He was very talented and he sure did a good job.”
Cross remembered when Jones helped repair the tunnel collapse in downtown Eureka Springs in 2017. Cross said it was a big job, and he completely trusted Jones to take care of it.
“He jumped right on it and got it ready to go, and it’s been going ever since,” Cross said. “I’m back in the parking business thanks to his good work down there.”
Cross said Jones was working on clearing out the old Ramada Inn on Highway 62 East at the time of his passing.
“I’ve worked with him individually, I’ve worked with him corporately and he was always good to us,” Cross said.
What made Jones such a memorable character, Cross said, was his dedication to doing what’s right. Cross said Jones performed many charitable acts in Carroll County. Indeed, Jones was thanked for donating topsoil to the Carroll County Detention Center to grow fresh vegetables in 2011. In 2006, Jones donated to the Eureka Springs Cemetery’s King Gladden memorial fountain. More recently, Jones donated equipment, materials and labor to help the Kings River Watershed Partnership clean Mill Creek.
“He was that kind of person. He was always trying to help somebody, and I’m sure he helped a lot of folks and probably didn’t charge them,” Cross said. “He was just that way. He’s a good man. We hated to lose him.”
Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney said Jones did a lot of work for the city over the years.
“He was always good to work with and he always worked hard,” McKinney said. “I know he’ll be missed by the community. He gave a lot back to the community.”
McKinney said Jones went above and beyond to help with city projects.
“He helped us a lot at the baseball fields hauling dirt,” McKinney said. “He’d bring us dirt for free once in a while. I think he gave dirt to the cemetery a time or two. It just always seemed like whatever we need, he would help.”
McKinney added, “He was always ready to help. He told me that he felt like if you live in a community, you have to give something back to it.”
Eureka Springs Mayor Butch Berry said Jones was instrumental in completing the concrete work in downtown Eureka Springs 15 years ago, and Green Forest Mayor Jerry Carlton said Jones relocated water and sewer lines east of Green Forest during the expansion to a four-lane highway.
“Jimmy’s always tried to help out as much as he could,” Berry said. “He had some very large shoes and they’re going to be very hard to fill. He’s going to be missed around here for a long time.”
Don McClung said he worked with Jones several times over the years.
“He was a busy guy. I admired Jimmy on his work ethic,” McClung said.
McClung remembered when Jones blacktopped the parking lot at Stubbs Grocery Store in Berryville.
“He just felt like everybody used the store and liked to go get their sandwiches there, so he did it as a favor,” McClung said. “I thought that was really commendable for him to do that. That’s the kind of guy he was.”
McClung said he’d describe Jones as hardworking.
“He was a guy who loved Berryville and Carroll County,” McClung said. “He was the type of guy to probably work until the day he died, and that’s what happened.”
Paul Summers recalled working with Jones years ago.
“He was a hardworking, ambitious person,” Summers said.
Tom Dees said he worked with Jones for the past 34 years to develop Holiday Island. Dees said Jones did “lots and lots of work at Holiday Island.”
“We were pretty close. He was a good guy. He was honest,” Dees said. “We did millions of dollars of work and we never had a contract, just a handshake. That may not have worked for a corporation, but it worked for me and Jimmy.”
Dees remembered when Jones paved the parking lot at the Holiday Island Veterans Park. Jones paved the parking lot because it needed to be paved, Dees said, and he didn’t ask to be paid for it.
“He didn’t get any recognition. Jimmy did a lot of work for people and never got recognized, because he just did it and never said anything about it,” Dees said.
To thank him, Dees said, he commissioned a concrete monument under the helicopter at the Veterans Park. Dees said he’ll never forget when he showed the monument to Jones.
“I’ve never seen him broken up, but he came close on that occasion,” Dees said. “That may be the only monument someone’s put up for him around here.”
Dees said Jones was one of his best friends. They talked every 10 days, Dees said, and he spoke with Jones the week before he died.
“Jimmy didn’t talk too much about his past. He just worked,” Dees said. “He was a good guy. He did a lot for the community, more than anybody knows.”
A private graveside service for Jones was held Thursday, Feb. 4, at the Berryville Memorial Park Cemetery. To honor his memory, Jones’ family asks the public to make memorial donations to Good Shepherd Humane Society at 6486 Highway 62 East in Eureka Springs.
- Jimmy Jones (02/08/21)