Former colleague says Rep. Walter Jones was ‘hard not to love’
WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — The state of North Carolina mourns the death of Rep. Walter Beamon Jones Jr. One local colleague talks about his impact from the nation, down to Pender County.
Jones, a Republican served North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. He died Sunday afternoon at age 76.
One woman who helped him start his career in Congress says she supported him from the day she met him.
Jones spent decades serving the state of North Carolina. He spent 10 years in the North Carolina State House, then 12 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Very gentle, kind man, but never compromised his principles. But had the good sense to know how to work across the aisle. How to get things done,” former NC Rep Carolyn Justice of Pender County said.
Justice says she got to know Jones quite well. Both served Pender County at one point.
Justice says Jones was dedicated, from serving the nation, all the way down to his local community.
“He was genuinely interested in anything you had to say. He was genuinely interested in how you felt about politics, and our state and our nation,” she said.
Justice says he was the man you call for help.
Jones took a leap from the Democratic party to the GOP, winning his seat in Congress in 1994.
“He was a huge supporter of our troops. His district included many military bases, so that was something he was very strong about,” Justice said. “He had probably the best constituent service in Washington. Anybody that called him, and even if you didn’t live in his district, he would do what he could to help you.”
Jones dedicated his life to protecting the people. He once said his passion for the military stems from his own family.
Justice says Jones will leave more than a vacant seat.
“What we’ll be missing is the kind of representative that all of us say we want,” she said.
Justice says he was just hard not to love.
“He reminded me often of Mr. Rogers. Just a decent human being who wanted to do the right thing,” she said.
Jones’s funeral will be held Thursday in Greenville. He died on his 76th birthday.