Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

San Antonio's 'pilau man,' Joseph E. 'Jack' Jones, dies at 82

SAN ANTONIO — On warm evenings under bright lights, kids crack bats and chase pop-ups on the ball fields. At dozens of community dinners a year, people line up for chicken dinners to raise money for things like the county fair and the Catholic church.

That's life in this rural community, and Jack Jones was a big part of it.

Mr. Jones died Tuesday (Jan. 25, 2011) at his home, surrounded by his family, including Diane, his wife of 60 years. He had been battling lung cancer. He was 82.

He was known as "the pilau man" (which folks here know is pronounced like "purlew"), cooking up the savory chicken and rice dinners by the hundreds. When the city celebrated its centennial in 1981, Mr. Jones made 800 dinners and had only a quart left over, his family said. The Knights of Columbus Catholic men's group, the Pioneer Florida Museum, the Pasco County Fair Association and the Kumquat Festival in Dade City all swelled their coffers and boosted their memberships through Mr. Jones' culinary recruiting. The races at this year's Kumquat Festival, set for Saturday, have been dedicated in his honor.

"Pilau is a big thing in town," said Barbara Sessa, the city clerk.

Bigger still is the Dixie Youth League baseball program. Mr. Jones founded the local league with Art Schrader in 1954 with just 27 players. The boys had been playing in Dade City Little League, Mr. Jones wrote in 2009. But transportation was a problem and the San Antonio players were being split up on different teams because "no one could beat us."

Mr. Jones and Mr. Schrader, also deceased, both served as coaches and had sons and grandsons who played in the league, which now has more than 300 kids.

"He always was community-service oriented. It was never about him," said Jack Vogel, who played on Mr. Jones' first team, the Cardinals.

The boys called him Jackie. "We all kind of idolized him. He was just a neat guy," Vogel said.

Mr. Jones was born in San Antonio and attended St. Anthony's School and St. Leo Preparatory School, which evolved into Saint Leo University, and served in the Marine Corps. He worked at his parents' sawmill and later in the office of his brother's bar and restaurant. He also was a founding member of the San Antonio Jaycees, the group that launched the Rattlesnake Festival, the city's signature event now in its 45th year.

In 2009, after the city named one of the baseball fields after him, Mr. Jones wrote, "I feel this has been the greatest legacy I could leave, seeing the hundreds of children over the last 54 years learning the art of baseball, sportsmanship and learning to be part of a team."

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

>>BIOGRAPHY

Joseph E. 'Jack' Jones

Born: May 2, 1928

Died: Jan. 25, 2011

Survivors: wife, Diane Smith Jones; sons Steven and Larry; daughters Jacqueline Malowney, Cathy Sprigg and Loraine Lachance; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two sisters and three brothers.

Services: Viewing 6-8 p.m. Friday; funeral 11 a.m. Saturday at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 32832 Saint Anthony Way, San Antonio

San Antonio's 'pilau man,' Joseph E. 'Jack' Jones, dies at 82 01/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December

    Blogs

    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  2. Taylor Swift congratulates Russell Westbrook on MVP Award

    Blogs

  3. Strategic Property Partners launches website for Water Street Tampa

    Business

    Strategic Property Partners has launched its official website for Water Street Tampa, its 53-acre redevelopment project in downtown Tampa Tuesday.

    Strategic Property Partners on Tuesday announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. [Photos courtesy of SPP]
  4. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  5. ReliaQuest CEO Brian Murphy named sole Tampa Bay winner in EY state entrepreneur contest

    Business

    ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy was named one of nine winners statewide and the only one from the Tampa Bay area in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Florida Awards program. Murphy won in the IT security division after starting ReliaQuest in 2007. Five of the nine winners were from the Miami …

    Tampa's ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy was named one of nine winners statewide and the only one from the Tampa Bay area in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Florida Awards program. Murphy won in the IT security division after starting ReliaQuest in 2007.