Reverend Dr. Betty Jo (BJ) Jones, 79, was unexpectedly called home to meet Jesus face to face on Friday, February 7, 2020. She resided in Panama City, FL until the destruction of Hurricane Michael destroyed her home and church in October, 2018. After the devastation of the hurricane she relocated to Schertz, TX where she spent the last 16 months of her life with her daughter Sherry; grandchildren April & Alex; and great grandsons Jacob, Joshua, & Caleb.
Reverend Betty Jo “BJ” Jones was born into humble beginnings on November 5, 1940 in Grand Ridge, Florida; the daughter of the late Addie (Bud) & Eunice Louise Nelson. Through the guidance of her parents and their obedience, Betty Jo was raised in a home that was built on a biblically sound foundation with the promises of God instilled within the core of her soul.
She graduated from Grand Ridge High School in 1958. Later she went on to attend Gulf Coast Seminary where she became the first female to attend and receive her Doctorate of Ministry in 1976. Her life was filled with monumental achievements and divine interruptions; though her faith remained anchored by the everlasting legacy that her parents instilled within her as a young child.
For 50+ years she sought to advance the kingdom of God by spreading the good news of the Gospel though her preaching, teachings and ministry. Though many of her proudest moments were spent making everlasting memories with her family; she was also not one to stand around idly waiting for an opportunity to share the word of God. Out of obedience and conviction by the Holy Spirit, she made a profound impact on the people she encountered; from the hospital bed, the pulpit or while out shopping. She always had the heart of a servant, a love for people, prayed (in tongues even in the middle of Costco), and fought winsomely.
After one of those divine interruptions (in the words of her granddaughter) aka Hurricane Michael, Betty Jo had to make the impossible decision to retire from her role as Senior Pastor at the Old Country Church in Callaway, a place that remained near and dear to her heart until her last breath.
Rev. Jones was ordained under five different fellowships; Living Word of Faith, South Carolina International Pentecostal Holiness Conference, Scranton Community Church, Old Country Church, New Covenant Outreach Ministries and Wings of Love Ministries. She also previously pastored in Sand Hills, FL, Cross, SC, and Scranton, SC.
Nanny found it impossible to believe that she would find a church that she loved as much as the one she pastored. However, after some resistance and grouchiness she finally decided to give in and attend a service at Community Bible Church, San Antonio; a church she said was way too big. Nanny was not someone who settled when it came to her church, especially to whom she faithfully tithed her 10%. Her words of affirmation are a true testament to the great work being done through the missionaries of Community Bible Church. It took her about 5 minutes to fall in love with the people of CBC, Pastor Ed, and the servant mentality of our church. From that moment she became a proud congregant and active member (even serving as a member of the security team during VBS in the summer of 2019).
Betty Jo had many titles: Betty, BJ, Mom, Rev., Dr., Pastor, Minister, Friend but most commonly referred to as Nanny. She had an infectious laugh and never met a stranger; but she also frequently had a lack of patience when it came to waiting (for anything), and was able to gracefully share her annoyances that often came across as endearing. She had a spunky attitude and a gift for telling it like it was no matter the circumstances. She also had a knack for being the most passive aggressive lady to ever walk the face of this earth; she had a unique gift for telling people what to do (without actually telling them to do anything).
Nanny was typically a very gentle, nurturing and a kind-hearted soul, unless you messed with her faith, family and the people she loved (God bless the person(s) who crossed those boundaries). She was always the brightest light in the room who always considered herself “blessed”.
Aside from her parents, Betty Jo was preceded in death by her loving husband Joe Jones (Papa Joe), sister Joyce Ann, infant nephew Gary and her beloved dog KoKo.
She was survived by her children: Frankie (Lacey) of Knoxville, TN; Edward (Twinkx) of Youngstown, FL and Sherry Harris of Schertz, TX. She is also survived by her grandchildren Melissa (Frank), Dan (Christine), Amanda (Xavier), Amy, Christopher (Kathy), Jason, April (Alex), Tara (John) and Sarah (Chris).
She is also survived by her great grandchildren: Darrell, Ashlynn, Jeremiah, Faith, Brandon, Katy, Bella, Taylor, Jacob, Clayton, Joshua, Johanna, Ava and Caleb (who also shared a birthday with Nanny), London, Cameron, Baby Thompson, Jagger, Caden, Kylee and Christian. Also, niece Marilyn (Tom Kephart), nephews Ricky and Greg Walden and many cousins. Aside from her family, Betty is also survived by a multitude of friends that she loved just as much as she loved her family.
She had a burning desire to be more like Jesus everyday that included serving in whatever capacity she was called to do, praise, worship, pastor, nursing, evangelist. Her ministry evolved when she began missionary work on the Native American Reservation in Great Falls, MT, prison and nursing home ministries within Bay County, FL, and also helped to establish the food bank within the Scranton, SC community.
While we are heartbroken, we know that her “soul” goal to spread the love of Jesus was fulfilled; through all of the spiritual victories and heartaches, loss, and loneliness her determination to spread the gospel never faltered, knowing that her ultimate victory (or in her words “pay day”) would be eternal life with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. She was always steadfast to the principles taught in scripture; (even within her last hour of life) she prayed for a friend and made the declaration that “God is always faithful”!
Funeral services will be at 1:00 PM, Friday, February 14, 2020 at Christian Covenant Church in Grand Ridge, FL. Interment will follow at Shady Grove Cemetery with James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel directing.
The family will receive friends from 11:30 AM, Friday, February 14, 2020 until the time of service at Christian Covenant Church.