AHA Commissioner Wayne Jones, 1935-2012, Presente!

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(APN) ATLANTA — Wayne Jones, 77, Member of the Board of Commissioners of the Atlanta Housing Authority, who served as a resident representative since 2010, died on Friday, April 20, 2012, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

Jones was nominated by Mayor Kasim Reed in 2010, to replace James Elder Brown, who previously served on the BOC as a resident representative.

Jones lived at the Barge Road senior high rise, one of the last remaining public housing facilities maintained by the AHA.

While on the Board, Jones swore to provide meaningful oversight of the agency, unlike previous Board Members before him, and Jones made good on his promise, questioning contracts proposed by AHA CEO Renee Glover, opposing AHA’s use of the Alisias PR firm, and pushing for Glover to resign.

“He was committed to ending the business as usual routine that continued at the Housing Authority.  Certainly he felt like the Housing Authority leadership had not been checked.  He was kind of a committed watchdog to make sure the Housing Authority stay focused on its mission, providing affordable housing for the very poor, instead of being overly focused on bringing higher-end residents into those communities,” Dr. Dwanda Farmer said.

“I definitely know that was one of those things that was important to him.  The mission is and should continue to be one of service to the very poor.  He wanted to make sure that remained a possibility,” Farmer said.

“He wanted to see the Housing Authority open up its contracting to make sure it was fair and equitable, and minority vendors have a chance to participate,” Farmer said.  “He was opposed to there only being a couple developers that get to develop everything the Housing Authority does.”

“Jones came from a business family.  He’s always been a business man,” James Allen, Jr., another resident representative on the AHA BOC, told APN.

“I’ve just always known him to be a nice guy, a regular guy.  He always did a lot of things to help people.  He’s always been very, very interested in children.  He worked with the Police Athletic League, PAL, to help those kids in recreation and keep them off the street,” Allen said.

“I’ll miss him.  I know death’s one thing we’re gonna have to do.  Being in the church, we’re taught about death.  To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord,” Allen said.

Jones, a native of Atlanta, grew up in the Summerhill Community.  He attended E.P. Johnson Elementary and David T. Howard High School, graduating in the class of 1952, according to a copy of his resume obtained by APN.

Later, Jones served as Alumni President for Howard High School for thirty years, from 1972 to 2002.

“He’s a person who did care about Atlanta.  He loved that school and he really put his heart in it.  I really knew him as a person passionate about education and public schools here in Atlanta,” Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2) said.

From 1972 to 1988, Jones was a consultant for KoKo Records in Memphis, Tennessee, where he managed well-known entertainment artists such as Major Lance of the hit single, “Monkey Time.”

For the last dozen years, Jones served as Managing Partner for Summit Management Company, where he played an active role in coordinating the annual Southern Heritage Football Classic [Jackson State University and Tennessee State University and the Zulu Ball during Mardi Gras in New Orleans].

Jones also served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the East Central Branch of the Butler Street Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), and Citizens United for Better Education.

He was also a committee member for the Butler St. YMCA Hungry Club and the Atlanta Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, serving on their Political Action Committee.

Jones was a lifelong member of the Allen Temple AME Church, where he has served as a steward for twenty-two years, trustee for five years, and for five years on the Development Board’s Financial Task Force for the church.

“He was crazy about that church,” former State Rep. Douglas Dean told APN.

“He’s a Summerhill boy.  His daddy was an entrepreneur in the dry-cleaning business on Auburn Avenue.  He was determined.  He wanted to be involved.  He talked a lot, sometimes he irritated people because he talked a lot.  A lot of times we couldn’t shut him up.  That was just Wayne,” Dean said.

“We have a disagreed on a number of political issues and everything, but you couldn’t tell him  nothing,” Dean said.

“But he was a good guy.  He was really community-conscious.  When he became President of the Alumni Association, he really moved into the political arena and the community arena.  He thought more of what he believed in then really was reality,” Dean said.

“What can you say of a guy you grew up with and wanted to make something of himself?” Dean said.

“There’s nobody I know that knew more preachers.  He always was on the telephone talking to preachers,” Dean said, adding that Jones had gotten preachers involved in helping Kasim Reed get elected as Mayor of Atlanta in 2009.

“He was a pillar.  He was kind of a behind the scenes political person.  He’s somebody who could get it done without making a show.  It takes a lot of humility to put themselves out where their leadership can be unnoticed,” Farmer said.

“To me, he was a friend.  He was a good friend, good to bounce ideas off.  I found him to be an excellent resource.  People will never know the extent to which Wayne Jones helped facilitate various changes in the Atlanta community,” Farmer said.

“He didn’t make a lot of noise about what he brought to the table.  He was a man of great, quiet influence,” Farmer said.

“We lost another brave one.  I’ve been knowing him.  He used to come to our meetings and stuff.  Another fallen comrade.  He was a very nice guy, a very wonderful person,” Diane Wright, former President of the Resident Advisory Board, said.

In November 2011, Jones and fellow AHA Board Member Allen were accused by AHA staff of making inappropriate comments during a visit to AHA’s offices.

In a recent conversation with APN, however, Mr. Allen denied the allegations and called them lies.

Jones died from pneumonia-related complications.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, April 26, 2012, at 11am, at Allen Temple AME Church, 1625 Joseph E. Boone Blvd, NE.  Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Jones is survived by a daughter, Shirley Dwayne; two sons, Phillip Jones and Deldrick Jones; four grandchildren; a sister, Alyce Abson; a brother, Q.P. Jones; three nephews, and five nieces.

(END/2012)

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