Former bank president dies at 80

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 1, 2003

Retired banker Roger ap Catesby Jones died Saturday, May 31 in a local hospital. His funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Monday, June 2, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he was a lifelong member and a former vestryman. The rector, the Rev. Polk Van Zandt, will officiate. Burial will be in New Live Oak Cemetery with Lawrence Funeral Home directing.

A Selma native, he was a descendant of one of the regions most respected and historic families and the namesake of his great-grandfather, Catesby ap Roger Jones, captain of the Confederate ship “Merrimac,” and commander of the Confederate Naval Ordnance Works in Selma. (The ap which appears in the names of the Jones family male members is a Welch abbreviation for “son of.”

Traditionally, the family names the first-born son after the grandfather and the second son after the father.)

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A Selma native, Jones was born Sept. 15, 1922, the son of Catesby ap Roger and Elizabeth Beers Jones. He entered Selma National Bank, the family banking business which will observe its centennial year in December, as a part-time runner in 1937, working through the summer months of the next three years. After graduating in 1940 with the first class of Albert G. Parrish High School he continued with the bank, familiarizing himself with its various departments.

In 1942 Jones enlisted in the U.S. Army, the only time he was away from the bank, he recalled to friends. During his 31 months of service he was stationed in Africa, Italy and other parts of the world, returning to Selma on Thanksgiving Day 1945, and to his banking job, where he was placed in the bookkeeping department with a nice raise. (From his prewar salary of $90 a month, his new check was $125).

In 1949 Selma Trust and Savings merged with Selma National Bank and Jones worked in several areas of the bank, including the position of manager of the bank’s facility at Craig Air Base. In 1960 the bank merged Selma Trust into Selma National and Jones was named president, remaining there until his retirement in 1984.

During those years, Jones maintained an active role in state banking, serving a term as president of Group IV of the Alabama Bankers Association. He was also deeply involved in civic and community organizations, including serving as president of the Selma Dallas County United Community Services, a board member of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Selma Exchange Club, a member of the Air Force Association and a captain of the Selma Quarterback Club. Jones was also named a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club.

He was an avid golfer, organizing and sponsoring the annual First Alabama Bank Roger Jones Invitational Tournament for its correspondents of Group 6 Alabama Bankers Association. No matter if a player finished first or last, Jones acclaimed it “a good day of camaraderie, which strengthened our banking relationships.”

He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Edris Donovan Jones; two sons, Catesby ap Roger Jones (and his wife Terry), and Thomas ap Roger Jones; five grandchildren, Roger ap C. Jones VI, Dylan ap T. Jones, Kelly D. Jones, Margaret Leigh Jones and Davis ap T. Jones.

He is also survived by his brother Catesby ap C. Jones (and his wife Chloris); a sister-in-law Dot Jones, widow of his brother the late Robert ap C. Jones; nephews Lee ap C. Jones, James ap R. Jones (and his wife Emily), Mark ap R. Jones (and his wife Greta), and Laura J. Pearce and her husband David.

He was predeceased by his parents, his brother, an infant daughter, and his nephew, Mabry ap C. Jones..

Pallbearer will be Tom Leak, Ham Wilson, Bob Roberts, Jim Jones, Mark Jones, Lee Jones, Chuck Kelly and Mike Patrick.

Honorary pallbearers are his cousins Robert Beers, Ben Beers and Van Carter.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church or a favorite charity.