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Jeanette Taylor Jones was born in El Dorado, AR on March 13, 1935 to R.T and Pearl Taylor. As a little girl, she lived up to her signature red hair and her daddy called her Doodlebug. Always bright and smart, she loved school and all its activities. During her high-school years, Jeanette began to attend Marrable Hill Chapel where she came to more closely walk a journey with Jesus! She loved Him and it was during those years and her college years at Columbia Bible College in South Carolina that she became more and more certain that she wanted to spend her life serving as a foreign missionary.
It was during those years at El Dorado Highschool that Jeanette met Gordon Jones. Once, while playing softball at Victory Bible Camp, she was showing off a bit, hoping to catch his attention - and when he hit the ball, she made valiant attempt to catch it. That ball broke her finger. Gordon felt badly about that broken finger and decided he had better take her to get some ice-cream…and the rest, as they say, is history. Her grandchildren all, at one time or another, heard the story and proof was demonstrated by the fact that her finger was always a just a little crooked!
Gordon also wanted to serve the Lord as a missionary. They both attended Columbia Bible College and married in 1955. After college, Jeanette supported Gordon’s path through pre-med, medical school and surgical residency, living first in Columbia SC where Gordon did pre-med at The University of South Carolina and she worked as the receptionist and, always a good writer, the ad copy writer for WIS-TV Channel 10 in Columbia. After moving to New Orleans she worked in medical practice administration for various doctors as Gordon attended Tualne University Medical School. During their years in New Orleans, they were involved in various churches -teaching and mentoring young people and helping to grow faith communities that blossomed into lifelong friendships with so many dear people who remain family friends to this day! This precious legacy has not been lost on her children who hold this way of being in the world with gratitude and endeavor to honor her by their own showing of love and friendship to many.
Through all the early years of their marriage, Jeanette and Gordon hoped for children but they did not come. After 12 years of hoping, they finally applied for adoption through an adoption agency in New Orleans only to walk away when they were told they would be given a child if they gave up their call of going to the mission field. Jeanette always told the story of how, on that very evening of heartbreaking disappointment, an obstetrician friend knocked on their door to say that a young woman had come to his practice wanting to place her baby for adoption - she wanted a Christian home for her baby and wanted the baby to be raised away from where she was from…and this doctor thought that Africa would be far enough away to fulfill that requirement. Joanna was born and adopted just 8 months before sailing for Africa.
In 1968 the new family boarded a steam ship out of the Port of New Orleans to land in Cape Town, South Africa, with all their possessions and many goods for the hospital where they would serve. They traveled north to Zambia where the family lived for nearly 30 years.
Five years later, while back in the US, Jeanette and Gordon were blessed with another little girl through adoption. It was a mad dash when this tiny girl came early and Jeanette was not fully prepared but with one huge shopping trip all was ready! MaryLois was named for both her grandmothers, all fully expecting she would be the last grandchild in the family. Smart, busy and much loved, this little one kept Jeanette busy - her inquisitive nature and energy were boundless.
All the while, Jeanette did the accounting for Luampa Mission Hospital while housekeeping and cooking in the bush. She also began to teach Bible at the local primary school and to teach Bible Studies in her home, which she loved. Over the years she taught children, teens and adults in all sorts of classes, Bible Studies and school clubs! Ever the consummate hostess, she made much out life in the African bush - hosting fellow missionaries, travelers, diplomats and more in addition to teaching.
It was after 24 years of marriage and at the age of 44 and 48 that Jeanette and Gordon - and everyone - were shocked to discover that she was expecting a baby. Nathan was born in Zambia and was the delight of the whole family. Jeanette and Gordon laughingly referred to him as their “do it yourself grandchild!” She used to say having him so late in her life kept her young.
After their return to the US and Gordon’s homegoing to the be with the Lord, Jeanette worked as an area representative mentoring other hopeful missionaries as well as serving in many roles at Village Bible Church in Hot Springs Village! She loved ministering to widows in Grief Share, working in the church library and she continued to speak and teach as needs and opportunities arose. Her message was always of the love of Christ, of His desire to give people a hope and a future and of her desire to help others to feel loved by God and journey with Him during their lives.
Her children each married, Joanna to Bryan, Lois to Bob and Nathan to Bethany. Jeanette loved each of these additions to the family and found them perfect partners for her kids. She noticed the ways each was good for the other and blessed her family by saying so. She relished the arrival of each of her 11 grandchildren, born over a 20 year span, thanks to the age difference in her kids. She was further delighted to become a great grandmother to Atlas in 2021.
Jeanette developed Alzheimers Disease with noticeable decline in her early 80’s and was willing to move in with her children so that she could enjoy being near to her kids and be cared for as the disease progressed. While never an easy journey, her family had many happy times together with her and were honored to be the ones to care for her when times became challenging and to walk with her all the way to the gates of eternity. Each of her children loved her so very dearly and were thankful to be with her as she passed from their presence into the presence of her beloved Savior.
She is survived by her children, Joanna and Bryan Hatton, Lois and Bob Stedman and Nathan and Bethany Jones, her grandchildren August and Grace Hatton and baby Atlas, Olivia Hatton, Ainslie Stedman, William Hatton, Audrey Stedman, Gabriel Hatton, Andrew Stedman, Abigail Jones, Hannah Jones, Meredith Jones and Lily Jones.
A private burial will be held on November 22nd, 2023 at Greenhaven Preserve, Eastover, South Carolina.
Jeanette would want you to know that God made you, He loves you and that He wants you to know Him and enjoy Him all your days, as well as spend eternity with Him. Her favorite verses say this: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight!” Proverbs 3:5-6