James E. Jones, MD, of Mechanicsburg, PA, died at the age of 93 on February 26, 2023.
Born in Fairmont, West Virginia, Jim attended West Virginia University and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and its Perelman School of Medicine, the latter electing him to membership in Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) for distinguished academic achievement. He served his Pediatric Residency at Polyclinic Hospital in Harrisburg, followed by an additional year at St. Christopher Hospital for Children in Philadelphia before returning to the Harrisburg area for the remainder of his long life.
A founding member of the Jones, Daly, Coldren pediatric practice (now JDC Pediatrics), in his daily life Jim served countless children until his retirement from active practice in 1998. He also served as the Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic of Central PA, and he was the first Medical Director of the Children’s Check-Up Center in Harrisburg (now the Community Check-Up Center of South Harrisburg), a non-profit clinic providing medical care to the underserved. In 2005, he was named Pediatrician of the Year by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Jim’s interest in health extended well beyond his pediatric practice, most specifically to the threat to life posed by nuclear armaments and environmental factors such as polluted air and water. A member of the Board of Directors at Penn Future, a non-profit organization supporting environmental sustainability, he was also active on the Peacemaking and Ecology Action committees at Market Square Presbyterian Church, where he was an ordained Elder.
A man of vision, action and great resolve, when a subject caught his attention, he educated himself, gave speeches, and rallied support for the cause. His interest in nuclear disarmament was a driving factor in his founding of the Harrisburg-Hershey Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). In 1989 at a meeting of the international affiliate of PSR in Hiroshima, Japan, Jim took to heart a challenge posed by a keynote speaker: “Everyone builds monuments to war; go home and plant trees, flowers, and ideas celebrating peace.” On his return from Japan, Jim led his fellow-physicians in PSR in creating a Peace Garden in partnership with the City of Harrisburg. That garden, largely funded, designed, planted, and maintained by Jim, other members of PSR, and their friends, exists today as an oasis of calm, beauty, and inspiration for everyone who passes by or through Riverfront Park.
Jim loved people - family, friends, patients, strangers in far-off lands: he saw the humanity in everyone. He traveled the world, delighting everywhere in his interactions with the people he met there. At home, he routinely rounded up large groups of friends and their families, young and old, for hiking, canoeing, and camping trips. He passionately shared his wisdom to help generations of children and scores of adults to aspire to be and do their best. He taught others to appreciate the natural world, and how to keep themselves and that world healthy. He modeled optimism, the joy of following convictions to improve the world, and the power of providing aid and comfort. In any situation, if it was in his power to help, he would. Through the lasting legacies of the Peace Garden and the countless people whose lives he touched, Jim lives on.
Jim is survived by his wife, Sandra L. Jones; his daughters Dianne Jones Britton (David), Karen Jones Evans, and Kathryn Jones Hyndman (Robert); his stepsons Richard W. Feeser (Leslie) and Scott A. Feeser (Elisabeth Liebow); 10 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and his sister-in-law, Anne Jones. He was pre-deceased by his brother, Eckess Jones.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 25 at 2:00 PM at Market Square Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 4309 Linglestown Rd. Suite 108, Harrisburg, PA. 17112, or the Community Check-Up Center, 38 C Hall Manor, Harrisburg, PA. 17104.