Walter Robert Jones Jr., M.D., passed into the arms of his Savior October 19. Walter was born in Greenwood July 21, 1941, to Walter R. Jones and Dorothy Riddell Jones. He was raised in Inverness, where he began his lifelong love affair with the Delta land and its people.
Walter was graduated from Inverness High School in 1959 and attended Ole Miss where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Following undergraduate school, he took his M.D. degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, graduating at the top of his class. Walter completed a surgery residency at UMC under Dr. James D. Hardy and a surgical fellowship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston. Upon conclusion of his surgical training, he entered the United States Army Medical Corps with the rank of major, serving as a surgeon with the 67th Evac Hospital in Qui Nhon, Vietnam. After completing his military service at Fort Carson, Colo., Walter and his young family settled briefly in Hattiesburg, followed by a return to Jackson where he and his longtime partner Dr. Richard Yelverton founded Lakeland Surgical Clinic. He was a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and Fellow of the American College of Surgery.
Walter was a physician in the truest sense of the word. Apart from his technical skills as a surgeon and diagnostician, he was beloved by his patients for his deep sense of empathy for them and their families. Following retirement from his surgical practice in 2004, Walter served as a physician at the Hudspeth Regional Center, providing compassionate care for severely disadvantaged patients.
Outside of his professional engagements, Walter loved the outdoors. In younger days he enjoyed scuba diving, whitewater canoeing and rock climbing. He was an avid, if not always successful, hunter of wild turkey. Walter was a confirmed bibliophile, as evidenced by the mounds of books crammed into every nook and cranny of office and home. He was a faithful patron of Lemuria Books, where he would often browse and discuss new discoveries with John and the staff. Walter also loved music; he could often be found at Hal and Mal’s or the Cherokee listening to The Vernon Brothers, The D’lo Trio and other favorite local musicians.
Walter was a member of Wells United Methodist Church where he was profoundly shaped by the ministry of the late Rev. Keith Tonkel. He deeply loved his Wells family, many of whom ministered to him as his health declined.
Walter is survived by his loving wife of 22 years, Kathy; sister Dorothy Duncan Walcott (Dexter) of Greenwood, and brother Dr. Christopher Riddell Jones of Birmingham; sons Walter Robert Jones III (Alese) of Flowood, Christopher Andrew Jones (Leslie) of Columbus, Ohio, the Rev. William Jeremy Jones (Maylon) of Memphis, and Clay Metcalf Jones of Oxford; stepson John Michael Saucier of Flowood, stepdaughters Sara Saucier Revell (Josh) of Flowood, Keith Smythe Meacham (Jon) of Nashville, and May Smythe of Nashville; and grandchildren Caroline Alese Jones, Robert Duncan Jones, Isaac Walker Jones, Lucy Hollis Jones, Nathan Jackson Jones, Irene Fairley Jones, Ellis Andrew Lockett Jones, John Noah Saucier, Ava Grace Revell and John Brice Revell.
The family would like to express gratitude to the physicians, nurses and staff at Hospice Ministries who provided compassionate care to Walter in his final days.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State St., Jackson, Miss., 39216, for the establishment of the Walter R. Jones, Jr., M.D. School of Medicine Need Based Award.
Visitation will be Friday, October 26, at Trinity Presbyterian Church from 5 to 8 p.m., and at noon on Saturday, October 27, at Wells United Methodist Church, followed by a service at 1 p.m. There will be a graveside service on Sunday, October 28, at 2 p.m. at Hickory Grove Cemetery, Inverness.