Charles Jones, long-time Macon council member and pastor, dies at 70 (2024)

A friend says Jones tried to make a difference — in the streets and at City Hall.

MACON, Ga. — A long-time Macon city council member died Thursday at an Atlanta hospital.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones says that Councilman Charles Jones died at Emory Hospital in Atlanta of natural causes on Thursday. He was 70 years old.

During his time on the Macon City Council, Jones's contemporaries heralded his efforts to fight drugs and gangs in West Macon and to serve as a voice for the voiceless.

"He was a man of great peace, wisdom and love for his neighbor and his community," Jones's sister Mary Sims said.

Sims says it was just part of how they were raised: to help others and live lives of service.

"We were raised to always give and do in the community and always lift others up," Sims said. "That was a passion inside of him that drove him to continue to do better."

Along with his over a decade on the city council, Jones was a pastor. Coroner Jones says he founded Greater Rising Star Full Gospel Tabernacle Churchon Plant Street.

Coroner Jones recalls the pastor being asked why he chose to keep the church on Plant Street, which he described as not the best area. But he said Councilman Jones saw it as the best place to reach the community and make a difference.

That philosophy, Jones says, played a part in Councilman Jones' work on the city council. When asked what he would miss most about Jones, the coroner said this: his leadership.

“He wasn't a bully on city council; he was willing to work with anyone,” Jones said. “You could call Charles Jones at any time – for any problem."

Whether it was in his district or not, Coroner Jones says that Councilman Jones would pick up the phone and try to solve problems for residents of Macon.

"Macon is better because of his presence here in this community and his dedication and commitment to doing what he could do to make sure violence didn't overtake our community," councilmember Elaine Lucas said. "He will be missed."

One area of focus for Jones was the Bellevue area of Macon. Both Coroner Jones and Lucas noted that Councilman Jones worked on drug and violence prevention in the Bellevue area of Macon.

"I grew up, as a matter of fact, [in Bellevue]," Lucas said. "We discussed that a lot. He was really committed and he was always cheerful — someone who could bring light into a room with jokes."

Jones noted that the councilman teamed up with the police chief at the time, Jim Brooks, to clean up the Bellevue area of drugs. He said it worked.

"They went to Bellevue and they cleaned it up," he said.

Fellow pastor, Henry Fickling, said he encouraged Jones to run for council. He echoed Coroner Jones' and Lucas's assessment of his work

"He took a lot of drugs off the streets," Fickling said.

Coroner Jones said when his mother died, Jones and his congregation came around him and supported him when he needed it most.

"We've been friends for a minute," Jones said. "When my mother died in ‘96, I got nothing but support from Charles Jones and his church members."

Lucas said that Jones made his focus on uplifting his neighbors and fighting for what was right.

"What was best for the community was best for him," Lucas said. "There were many times that he took the opportunity to be an advocate for the community."

In addition to that, Jones' sister Sims said that Jones put his heart and soul into the people of his community.

"He was a pillar of the community," Sims said. "When people needed help, they know they could come to Charles... That's what he lived by: caring for his fellow man."

Coroner Jones says Bentley and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements which were being made on Friday afternoon.

Owen Warden contributed reporting.

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Charles Jones, long-time Macon council member and pastor, dies at 70 (2024)

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