Malcolm L. (Mal) Jones of Hazlehurst, died Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at the age of 94.
Visitation will be from 9-9:30 a.m. Friday at Hazlehurst United Methodist Church. Services will be at 9:30 a.m. at the church with interment in Hazlehurst City Cemetery.
Mr. Jones was born in Sabraton, WV, October 22, 1923, the son of Buford and Bertha Jones. Preceding him in death, along with his parents, were two sisters and one brother.
He spent his early childhood in Salem, VA. After leaving Salem, he lived in Washington, D.C.
Jones dropped out of high school to become an apprentice machinist in the Naval Gun Factory in Washington.
He volunteered for the U.S. Navy, serving four years from March 1943 until December 1946, then enlisted in the inactive reserve until his discharge in 1954, serving the entire time as a Gunners Mate.
His total time on active duty was aboard the USS Raven, a Navy mine sweeper, seeing action in World War II.
His ship sailed to England April 3, 1944, in preparation for the D-Day invasion of Europe, June 6, 1944.
The Raven crew witnessed the first casualties of the D-Day invasion as the ship Osprey, ahead of them, struck a mine.
The Raven, along with other minesweepers, were within sight of the Normandy coast at 2 a.m., hours before the actual landings.
Following a month and a half at Normandy, sweeping mines, his ship sailed for the Mediterranean Sea for the Southern France invasion August 15, 1944.
Jones was discharged from the Navy in December of 1946 at San Diego, CA.
For his service in World War II, awards included: the Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle East Campaign medal with two stars, Cold War ribbon, and years later, he became a “Chevalier” of Legion of Honor, awarded by the French Government for participation in the freedom of France.
Following his wartime service he entered the field of radio broadcasting and newspaper.
His 39 years in broacasting as announcer and station manager included times at WMDC, Hazlehurst, 33 years; Cumberland, MD; Hattiesburg; and McComb.
During his time with WMDC, he became known as the Voice of the Colonels, Copiah Academy football, play-by-play, until 1985.
In addition to his morning radio show, he reported national and state election results to TV, radio stations, and nationwide news agencies for 30 years. He retired from radio in 1986.
His newspaper career began immediately with the Copiah County Courier, lasting for seven years, as advertising manager, doing sideline duties as photographer and reporter. During these years he won many awards for Best Sports Page, Best Spot News Photograph, Best Feature Story plus many Honorable Mentions in other categories, through the Mississippi Press Association.
Jones served as “stringer” for the old Jackson Daily news for 25 years.
Packed away are many of his memories in forms of plaques awarded for his talents as Master of Ceremonies for local schools, churches and civic organizations. He was MC for the Miss Copiah County Beauty Pageant for more than 25 years.
In 2001, he was named Volunteer of the Year by the Hazlehurst Chamber of Commerce and “Ageless Hero” by Blue Cross-Blue Shield.
One of his proudest achievements was that of keeping in touch with his former shipmates of the USS Raven through his tri-monthly newsletter since 1991.
A highlight of his life was being baptized at the age of 87, thanks to Reverend David Steveline of the Hazlehurst United Methodist Church.
Survivors include: daughter, Kathleen Hidalgo of Hazlehurst; grandchildren, Turner (Daphne) Berry, and Garner (Molly) Berry; six great grandchildren; and closest friend, Jean Conner.