Jones served on the Flagler County Commission until 1992.
Former County Commissioner Al Jones, a decorated Army veteran and Merchant Marine who was active in local politics even after his stint on the commission, died Aug. 21 after a heart attack. He was 87.
Jones and the late Jim Holland, a member of Palm Coast’s first City Council, began a tradition of a monthly breakfast meeting where local political figures and those interested in local politics would meet to discuss local issues. Jones’ last “breakfast club” event was Aug. 20, the day before his death.
“He was a tremendous man,” said Flagler County Commissioner George Hanns. “He’s been an inspiration to many, many people who’ve run for office in both parties.”
Jones, a Republican, was also an inspiration to Hanns, a Democrat. Jones had been encouraging Hanns to run for County Commissioner Merrill Shoemaker’s seat, Hanns said, when a district change suddenly switched Hanns from Shoemaker’s district into Jones’ district for the 1992 election.
“I said, ‘Al, I’m not going run against you,’ and he said, ‘Run,’” Hanns said. “When I beat him, I’m like, ‘Al, I’m sorry,’ and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it kid, you’re going to do a good job.’”
City Councilwoman Heidi Shipley posted on Facebook to acknowledge Jones’ death, writing, “In my eyes he will always be remembered as someone that brought the parties together once a month in a peaceful setting to break bread. May he rest in peace and always be remembered for his kindness.”
In a reply to her post, County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen wrote, “In the years I have been in Flagler, Al was an inspiration.” Ericksen noted how Jones, though in a wheelchair, always “made his rounds” to personally greet everyone attending the breakfasts.
Jones, a Flagler Beach resident, was also a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club with a lifetime membership, and was awarded the “Kiwanis of the Year” award in 2015.
A memorial gathering for friends to visit with Jones’ family is planned for 5-7 p.m. Aug. 24 in the chapel at the Craig-Flagler Palms Funeral Home at 511 Old Kings Road S., Flagler Beach. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at Christ Lutheran Church at 2323 N. State St., Bunnell. In lieu of flowers, Jones’ family suggests contributions to Christ Lutheran Church.