[Episcopal Diocese of Missouri] The Rt. Rev. William (Bill) A. Jones, Jr., former bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, died Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. He was 93 years old.
Jones was a native of Memphis, Tennessee. He was ordained the eighth Bishop of Missouri on May 3, 1975 and served as bishop until 1992.
“I join with the people of the Diocese of Missouri in giving thanks for the life, work, and ministry of the Rt. Rev. William “Bill” Jones,” said the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, eleventh Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri. “Bishop Jones served as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri during a period of significant change in The Episcopal Church. His pastoral presence and good humor went well beyond his tenure as Bishop Diocesan.”
Following General Convention’s approval in 1976 to ordain women, Bishop Jones ordained the first woman in the Diocese of Missouri. He also worked to expand lay involvement in the diocese, establishing the Lichtenberger Society to provide spiritual opportunities for lay people. Bishop Jones re-established the Bishop and Council model and continued the diocesan tradition of responding to social needs. Under Jones’ leadership, the diocese began a new companion relationship with the Diocese in Nigeria. That relationship led to many visits, establishment of programs and longtime friendships.
The bishop and his wife, Margaret Loaring-Clark Jones (Maggie), had four daughters. Bishop Jones retired in 1992 and the couple moved east, finally settling in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. His wife Maggie passed away on February 29, 2020.
“I was fortunate enough to chat with Bishop Jones after my election and again after my ordination & consecration. I greatly appreciate his deep wisdom, profound insight and his willingness to support me ‘as his bishop,’’’ said Bishop Johnson. “Bishop Jones now joins with that glorious band of saints who have entered into a nearer presence with the Eternal God, and we give thanks for the tremendous impact his life and ministry has had in shaping who we are as followers of Jesus in this time and place. May Bishop Jones rest in Christ’s peace and rise in glory.”