Dr. Frederick L Jones, Jr., age 92, longtime Danville resident and Geisinger physician, died.
Dr. Frederick L Jones, Jr., age 92, longtime Danville resident and Geisinger physician, died at his Twin Spruce Farm home suddenly on April 23, 2023, just six months after Mary Jo, his wife of 66 years passed away. He had been visiting with some of his children and had recently been given a large birthday party by his extended, loving family.
Frederick L Jones, Jr. was born on March 4, 1931, in Macon, GA to Lucile and Frederick L Jones, Sr. His brother Cecil followed 10 years later. Fred was a talented student and well settled with family in the South. However, during World War II his father was called to duty with a Naval Supply Corps unit in Philadelphia, PA. Fred spent 10th grade in Philadelphia at the Episcopal Academy, then returned to Macon for one year before his father was offered a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Fred returned to get his high school degree from Episcopal. He considered returning to the South for college but elected to attend Princeton University where he majored in history. He then attended the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania. It was there that he met his lifelong companion, Mary Joyce Huben of Ashland, PA, who was enrolled in the Nursing School at Penn. They were married the day after they each graduated.
Fred began his medical career with an (unpaid) internship at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia while Mary Jo supported the family with her nursing work. Their first child, Frederick L. Jones, III (“Rick”) was born near the end of that year, and almost immediately the family moved to Ann Arbor, MI so that Fred could complete his medicine residency at the University of Michigan. Two more children, Anne and Lawrence, were born in that time. Fred then served as a US Air Force physician, first at Dyess AFB, Abilene, TX (where Pamela was born) and then at Scott AFB, Belleville, IL, before being honorably discharged as a major.
After considering several opportunities, Fred and Mary Jo elected to accept a position at Geisinger in 1965. They purchased a farm south of town (an offer for a house in town had fallen through). These decisions turned out to be foundational for the couple and the legacy they created.
Moving to Twin Spruce Farm (or just The Farm to the family), was a challenge. Fred worked long hours and Mary Jo was alone with four children, which became five when Andrew was born. The hand dug well ran dry in the first couple of weeks due to the many loads of laundry. The coal furnace had to be carefully managed during the long winters. But over the years, improvements were made, and the family adapted to life in the country. There were many family gatherings, which grew over the years as children married and grandchildren, then great grandchildren arrived. The last was just two years ago, when about 60 people celebrated Fred and Mary Jo’s 65th wedding anniversary under a tent set up on the front lawn.
In many ways, Geisinger was an ideal working environment for Fred. It was physician-run and patient-centered. Research was encouraged, but patient care was always foremost. Self-improvement was a mantra. Fred trained in the days prior to formal medical specialty fellowships. He focused on chest, and especially lung disease and despite the lack of a formal training program, became a renowned pulmonary medicine expert. He was one of the original chest medicine specialists at Geisinger, pioneering many procedures imported from leading academic centers, and helping to establish the first intensive care units at the hospital. After leading the thoracic medicine section, he was appointed as the Chief of Medicine, where he served for a number of years. In the meantime, he authored dozens of publications ranging from original research and case reports, to medically related poetry. He made important contributions toward the understanding of several diseases of local significance, including Black Lung disease of coal miners, Legionnaire’s Disease, and tuberculosis. During his time at Geisinger he trained hundreds of physicians and served leadership roles in many professional societies.
Fred was also deeply committed to his community. He and Mary Jo were members of Grove Presbyterian Church for their entire time in Danville. Both served as Elders and Deacons. Fred prepared a history of the church for its 100th anniversary. He marched in many Memorial Day parades as a proud veteran. For many years he took on additional responsibilities as attending physician at local nursing homes. He donated over 20 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross. For over 30 years he adopted the local stretch of Logan Run Road at PennDOT and kept it free of litter. And he loved visiting neighbors or chatting with folks at local businesses like Coles Hardware and his barber shop. Fred developed a passion for collecting medical antiques, building a museum-quality collection. In recent years he donated a large array of microscopes to Geisinger and gifted other pieces to institutions (including the Montgomery House) and individuals with particular interests.
One of Fred’s most remarkable and endearing qualities was his love of poetry. He read and reread poems into his last days. He was able to recite from memory dozens of his favorite works. He even composed some moving poems of his own. In recent years he often repeated the final lines of Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha to his family, using it to illustrate his own attitude about his long life and inevitable mortality:
And the evening sun descending/Set the clouds on fire with redness,/Burned the broad sky, like a prairie,/Left upon the level water/One long track and trail of splendor,/Down whose stream, as down a river,/Westward, westward Hiawatha/Sailed into the fiery sunset,/Sailed into the purple vapors,/Sailed into the dusk of evening.
After Mary Jo’s passing in October 2022, Fred continued to be the trunk of the family tree, showing graciousness and stoicism in the face of loss, celebrating the many wonderful aspects of his marriage and life while doing his best to never burden his family. He will be greatly missed by his large family, his many professional colleagues, and many in the community whose lives he touched. Fred and Mary Jo are survived by Fred’s brother W. Cecil Jones of Houston, TX; three sons: Frederick L, Jones, III, MD, and his wife Christine Culberson Jones of Philadelphia; Lawrence H. Jones, MD and his wife Suann Molter Jones of Harrisburg, PA; Andrew O. Jones, PhD, and his wife Lisa Hagenbuch Jones of Danville, and two daughters: Anne M. Jones, BS of Chapel Hill, NC, and Pamela L. Krakow, MSN and her husband Tom Krakow of Chapel Hill, NC. There are also 14 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
The family will host a public reception in his honor Saturday, May 20, 2023 from 1:00 -4:00 pm in the Great Room at Grove Presbyterian Church 376 Bloom Street Danville PA.
Arrangements are under the direction of Visneski Funeral Home, Inc. 42 West Mahoning Street Danville PA. www.visneski.com