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Friday, Apr 20, 2018
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Plant City matriarch, 97, remembered for cooking, love of family

PLANT CITY - Carolyn Jones, a pioneer resident known for her hard work, cooking and love for family, has died at age 97. Jones was brought to Plant City as an infant in 1915 by her parents, who were migrant farmworkers who settled here. She grew up without any modern conveniences. “She said the living was good by times were tough,” said her daughter, 61-year-old Rosa Lee Jones. Jones sometimes endured racial taunts growing up, but never was bitter.
Jones worked in strawberry fields and sometimes took some of her 12 children with her. She later held a variety of jobs, including housekeeper for a wealthy Plant City family, and employee at Florida Sip tea company and Crystals International freeze dried foods company. Her final postion was as a custodian at Glover School in Bealsville. She retired in the late 1970s. “She always worked hard and expected us to work hard too,” Jones said. As a young woman, she liked to dance. She loved to sing her whole life and on her 97th birthday on Sept. 28 sang three verses of “Red, Red Robin.” She was a faithful member of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. She died May 1 of heart failure at the home where she’d lived for more than 50 years. Until late last summer, she was able to get around without a walker. She was an accomplished cook, including her favorite, fried chicken. “If you went over to her house, she would feed you and she’d expect you to eat,” said her 79-year-old daughter, Carolyn Barton. She always enjoyed life, Barton added. “She was a loving person. Anything she could do for anybody, she’d do,” she said. She was predeceased by four children, Betty Jo Dupont, Johnnie Mae Jackson, Robert Jones and Ronald Jones. Besides Barton and Rosa Lee Jones, she is survived by chldren Jerry Mobley, Shirley Green, Eugenia Sales, Blanche Copeland, Topsy Jones and Elizabeth Jones. Charlow Funeral Home, Plant City, was in charge of arrangements. Rosa Lee Jones said her mother never talked about living to be 100, even though she was nearing the milestone. “She was taking it one day at a time. She said she had to thank the Lord for each day she had on this earth. And that’s what she did, she was thankful and felt blessed.”

Twitter: @dnicholsonTrib

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