Husband, father, author, poet, Otis Jones was a man of many talents – a transcendent thinker, and a social reformer that departed this life Thursday, March 26, 2020. One of eight children, Otis was born April 26, 1946 in Raleigh, NC at St. Agnes Hospital to the late Robert and Lois Jones. He was raised in Wake Forest, North Carolina where he graduated from W.E.B. Dubois High School in 1964. At an early age, family values, hard work and education was instilled in him as he developed a deep love and commitment for family and community. Otis was more than just a survivor; his life’s journey embodied the testament of faith, determination and perseverance as he overcame many insurmountable odds.
Otis was a modern-day renaissance man, he enjoyed food and music which consisted of listening to different genres; to include gospel, quartet, jazz, classical and many others. He was a sports enthusiast, and a diehard North Carolina Central University (NCCU) sports fan and University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels basketball fan. Otis was also a known advocate for promoting Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). He had many interests ranging from geopolitical to socioeconomical influences and impacts. He was often referred to as the “family meteorologist,” as he would often make personal calls to loved ones to notify them of incoming weather that was noted in the forecast. As an avid reader, Otis was well-versed in many areas of study and was often sought after for his personal expertise and wisdom. His academic and educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University (1970), and a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University where he graduated in 1979. Otis was civically involved and as a student at NCCU, Otis was initiated as a fellowman of the Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Incorporated in 1967. Otis had many loves, but he adored and loved his family and wife, Tomiko Jones of 32 years who ministered and served by his side.
As a man of faith, Otis reared his family in the church and was a charter member of Apostolic Church of Deliverance, later renamed Rebirth Deliverance Ministries, Inc., where he served under the leadership of Apostle Daren D. Moss. Through the years, Otis served in many capacities including as church Treasurer and historian. He served several terms as an Advisory Board Member and he even taught Sunday School as a part of the Christian Education Department. His love for music and fellowship also led him to minister in song as a member of the male chorus.
Otis dedicated his life to public service and had a distinguished career with the Durham County Department of Social Services where he later retired after 18 years of service. Otis Jones was not only a social worker, but he was an advocate, activist and influential voice for those with disabilities and for the most vulnerable in his community. Otis has made appearances on both local and international media outlets including CNN. He was an accomplished writer and poet, completing his autobiography in 2016 entitled “Twisted Metal/Scented Petals”. Otis has written countless of articles, poems and has noted literary published work in the “Great Poems of the Western World Vol. II, My Beloved Tomiko, p. 538, copyright 1990 in the Library of Congress.
He was preceded in death by his brother, James Jones, and his two sisters, Eleanor Faye Massenburg and, Doris Rodwell.
Otis Jones leaves to cherish his memories: his loving wife, Tomiko Jones,
3 children, Emmanuel L. Matthews of Durham, NC, Dominique D. Matthews of Austin, TX, and Curtis D. Matthews of Raleigh, NC (biologically Tomiko's sister children). Three grandchildren: Kharisma D. Johnson, TX, Kysaiah Dollarhide, TX, Curtis Matthews II, NC and expecting an angel in October 2020; his siblings: Lelon Jones (brother) of Bronx, NY, Robert Jones (Joyce), (brother) of Durham, NC, Patricia A. Horton (Sister) of Raleigh, NC and Vann L. Jones (Robin)(brother) of Durham, NC, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and many other relatives and friends.
In the words of Otis, it is more important how the race is finished, rather than how it is started.
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