Former County Manager Harry L. Jones Sr. passed away on Feb. 15 after a long, hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer. Jones served as Mecklenburg County manager from 2000 to 2013, and as assistant county manager prior to that.
"Harry was a dedicated public servant, a good friend and mentor," said County Manager Dena R. Diorio. "I truly appreciate everything he did for the community and the confidence he showed in me."
Jones had an extensive career in public administration. He served as housing compliance director for the City of Dallas, Texas. He also held several other positions for the City of Dallas, including assistant city manager, director of court services, and director of housing and neighborhood services. He was community development director for the City of Charlotte from 1981-1984, and executive director of the Fayetteville (NC) Metropolitan Housing Authority from 1978-1981.
He served on the board of directors for the Carolinas Conference of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation, Metro-YMCA of Greater Charlotte, the Wachovia Championship, Champions for Education, Inc., United Way of Central Carolinas (ex-officio), and the Charlotte Regional Partnership (ex-officio). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees elected Jones to the UNC Board of Visitors.
Jones was elected a fellow to The National Academy of Public Administration, president of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, and charter member of the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association.
He was a member of Sigma Pi Phi fraternity and has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including: the 2010 UNC Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award, Pride Magazine Public Service Award, NC Association of County Commissioners Outstanding County Program Award for “Establishing Ethical Expectations,” Morehouse Alumni Association Community Service “Beacon of Light” Award, and the Charlotte Post “People of Prominence” Award.
Jones held a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned an associate of arts degree from Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, NC.
While a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, Jones was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece (the university’s highest honorary society), the Order of the Grail and the Society of Janus. He was employed as a student assistant to the dean of student affairs, serving as a liaison to minority students. At Sandhills Community College, he was elected Student Government Association president and was the recipient of the school’s R.P. Beasley Award for outstanding student leadership. In 1991, he received Sandhill’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
In 1969, Jones was appointed by then-Gov. Robert Scott as a student member of the N.C. Conference for Social Services. He was also appointed a state delegate to the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1970 by Gov. Scott.
On Dec. 20, 2016, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners inducted Jones into the Order of the Hornet, the County’s highest honor. The award is given to citizens who have made extraordinary contributions to the community.
During his bout with cancer, Jones took the time to encourage others who were also suffering from the disease. He is a native of Southern Pines, NC. He is survived by his wife, Becky, and four children: Ebony, LaHari, Reina, and Harry Jr.
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