Herman "Wimpy" Jones

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Herman "Wimpy" Jones​

Louisiana State Senator for
District 36 (Bossier
and Webster parishes)​
In office
1956​ – 1960​
Preceded by John J. Doles, Sr.
Succeeded by Harold Montgomery

Born December 19, 1905​
Webster Parish, Louisiana​
Died April 30, 1967 (aged 61)​
Shreveport, Louisiana​
Resting place Minden Cemetery​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) (1) First wife missing​

(2) Georgia Doty Jones (married 1941-1967, his death)​

Relations Drayton Rogers Boucher (cousin)​
Children Mary Elizabeth Jones Brocato​

Three grandchildren:
​ Annette B. Seamands
​ Rickey Joseph Brocato
​ Michael Brocato​

Residence (1) Minden, Louisiana​

(2) Bossier City, Louisiana​

Occupation Businessman
Religion Southern Baptist
Notes:

(1) Jones operated restaurants in Minden and then Bossier City while he also developed an intense interest in local and state politics.
​ ​ (2) Jones barely topped Harold Montgomery in their 1956 Democratic primary election confrontation and then lost 2–1 in their 1960 rematch.​

Herman "Wimpy" Jones (December 19, 1905 – April 30, 1967) was a businessman who served as a Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate for Bossier and Webster parishes in northwestern Louisiana. He held the position for a single term from 1956 to 1960,[1] which corresponded with the administration of Governor Earl Kemp Long. He was also the state fire marshal for Minden and for a time the assistant sergeant at arms of the Louisiana House of Representatives.[2]

Background

Jones was one of eight children born in Webster Parish to John Jackson Jones (1867–1957) and the former Stella I. Boucher (1872–1946). His siblings were Casey, Clyde, Lena, Louie, Delta Jones Botzong (1891–1979), Augustus Melvin Jones (1893-1985), and Loy Jones (1903–1907), who died at the age of three when Herman was barely a year old.[3]

Melvin Jones and his wife, the former Lillian David (1895–1972), had three children, who were a niece and nephews of Herman Jones: Melba Jones Lowery (1921–2009), James Thomas Jones (1916–1986), and Augustus L. "Loye" Jones (1931–2011), who opened Loye's Pharmacy in Minden in 1963.[4][5] Melba Lowery was the wife of Dennis Lowery (1922-2012), a native of Yellow Pine in Sabine County in east Texas.[6]

Herman Jones graduated in 1924 from Minden High School, having played on champion football teams in 1921, 1923, and 1924.[2] He operated restaurants in Minden and later Bossier City known as Jones' Kitchen and the Southern Kitchen, respectively. Jones' Kitchen was sold in 1951. It was renamed in 1958 as the "Southern Kitchen" under new owners Harold Martin "Happy" Turner (1911–1988) and John T. David, the Minden fire chief and municipal mayor from 1946 to 1955. While residing in Bossier City, Jones was a member of the First Baptist Church there. He also served on the Bossier City Planning Commission and filled an unexpired term on the city council for Bossier City.[7]

Legislative races

In 1947, Jones ran for the Louisiana House seat from Bossier Parish. He lost by seventy-seven votes to incumbent Representative Jimmy Boyd.[8] In 1952, Jones narrowly lost a primary election to the state Senate to John J. Doles, Sr., a banker from Plain Dealing in northern Bossier Parish whom Jones described as "a friend."[9]

On February 21, 1956, Jones rebounded to defeat businessman and former educator Harold Montgomery of Doyline in south Webster Parish in the Democratic primary runoff election for the Bossier/Webster Senate seat vacated by Doles after a single term. A third candidate, Minden businessman and educator Lloyd C. Starr (1899–1982), was eliminated in the first primary. Jones claimed, as having been the House assistant sergeant-at-arms, that he knew personally nearly all the legislators and would hence be ready from the first day to represent the northwest Louisiana district. Jones polled 6,734 votes (50.7 percent) to Montgomery's 6,542 (49.3 percent), a margin of 192 votes.[10] No Republicans sought the position. District 36 obtained its first Republican senator in 2007, when Robert Roy Adley of Benton, switched parties shortly after his election as a Democrat.

As senator, Jones served on the Joint Legislative Committee on Segregation, under chairman William Rainach of neighboring Claiborne Parish. Like Rainach, Jones opposed desegregation at the height of the civil rights movement. He was a favorite of organized labor and supported voting by eighteen-year-olds, an issue not much discussed at the time, some fifteen years before the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution.[11] Unlike Rainach, Jones was noncommittal on the recurring issue of right-to-work legislation, having urged in 1958 a state constitutional amendment on the matter to gauge voter support. "It is a very controversial issue and ought to be decided by the people. We should get the [right-to-work] thing settled once and for all."[12] Jones campaigned for reelection in 1959 by noting that he had obtained twenty-three road contracts for Bossier and Webster parishes in the administration of Governor Earl Kemp Long during a period of three and one-half years.[13]

The conservative Harold Montgomery returned to challenge Jones in the primary held on December 7, 1959. Montgomery led, 7,929 (46.6 percent) to 6,542 (38.5 percent), but two other candidates polled a critical 2,536 votes (14.9 percent). In the Democratic runoff election on January 9, 1960, Montgomery easily defeated Jones, 11,116 (66.5 percent) to 5,611 (33.5 percent) and won sixty-eight of the seventy precincts in what is now a revised District 36. In this same election, Jimmie Davis defeated fellow Democrat deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr. to win the gubernatorial nomination. The Senate results finished Jones’s political career.[14]

Jones announced that he would oppose Montgomery again in the primary held on December 7, 1963, but he withdrew from the contest before the balloting began.[2] Jones called himself an Independent and endorsed unpledged electors for the 1964 presidential campaign, a position originally held by Montgomery too.[15] However, the nomination in 1964 of Barry Goldwater by the Republican Party ended the free-elector movement.

​In the Democratic primary held on August 13, 1966, Jones ran fourth among five candidates for the position of Ward 4 marshal for Minden and south Webster Parish.[16]

Death and family

Jnes died of a brief illness in a Shreveport hospital at the age of sixty-one. Services were held in the funeral home chapel in Minden, with interment at Minden Cemetery. In addition to his wife, the former Georgia E. Doty (1910-1977), he was survived by a daughter from a previous marriage, Mary Elizabeth Jones Brocato (1928-1994), and her husband, Joseph Albert Brocato (1921-2007), a Roman Catholic veteran of World War II, who for sixty-two years was affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In 1990, Governor Buddy Roemer awarded Brocato the "Caddo Parish Older Worker of the Year Award."[17] The Brocatos are interred at Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport.[18]

Jones had a surviving brother, Augustus Melvin Jones (1893-1985) of Minden,[2] and a brother-in-law, Keith Cassius Doty (1919-1990) of Bossier City, a veteran of the First United States Army Special Service Force of World War II, who is interred at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Haughton in Bossier Parish.[19]

Georgia Jones was born in Mills in Keya Paha County in northern Nebraska, a daughter of George and Blanche Doty. She attended public schools in Huron in Beadle County in east central South Dakota, and relocated to Bossier City during the 1930s. She and Jones married in 1941. After his death, she returned to South Dakota and resided in Beresford. She died at the age of sixty-seven in Viborg in Turner County in southeastern South Dakota. She is interred at Riverside Cemetery in Huron.[20]

Through his maternal uncle, Robert Riley Boucher of Springhill in northern Webster Parish, Jones was a first cousin of former state Representative and Senator Drayton Rogers Boucher (pronounced BUTCHER), who held the same senate seat as Jones from 1940 to 1952. ​

References

  1. Membership in the Louisiana Senate, 1880-Present (Bossier and Webster parishes). Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on September 25, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Funeral Rites Set Tuesday for Herman (Wimpy) Jones," Minden Press-Herald, May 1, 1967, p. 1.
  3. Wiley Family of Shongaloo, Louisiana. Rootsweb ancestry. Retrieved on June 23, 2009; no longer on-line..
  4. Obituary of Melba Jones Lowery. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on July 3, 2009.
  5. Augustus L. "Loye" Jones. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on September 15, 2011; no longer on-line.
  6. Dennis Lowery obituary. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on November 14, 2012.
  7. Minden Press, January 9, 1956, p. 8.
  8. Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020 (Bossier Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on September 25, 2019.
  9. "44 Candidates Qualified," Minden Herald, October 15, 1955, p. 1.
  10. Minden Press, January 17, 1956, p. 1.
  11. Minden Press, January 9, 1956.
  12. "Legislators Ask Right-to-Work Vote," Minden Press, February 24, 1958, p. 1.
  13. Minden Press, August 17, 1959, p. 1.
  14. Minden Press, December 9, 1959, and January 11, 1960, p. 1.
  15. Minden Press, December 9, 1963, p. 1.
  16. Minden Press-Herald, August 15, 1966, p. 1.
  17. Joseph Albert Brocato. osbornfuneralhome.net. Retrieved on June 19, 2015.
  18. Mary Elizabeth Jones Brocato. findagrave.com. Retrieved on June 19, 2015.
  19. Keith C. "KC" Doty. findagrave.com. Retrieved on September 25, 2019.
  20. Georgia E. Doty Jones. Findagrave.com from The Daily Plainsman (July 15, 1977). Retrieved on June 19, 2015.

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