NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> Longtime Newtown Borough firefighter and former fire chief Albert D. Jones was laid to rest on Feb. 5, his flag-draped casket carried to the Newtown Cemetery aboard an antique 1923 Kearns Doughy Pumper.
The short procession, led by the chief’s vehicle and escorted by the Newtown Township Police Honor Guard, stopped at Jones’ house before heading to the cemetery where it passed below crossed ladders holding a large American flag.
At the time of his death on January 28, Jones was the longest serving active member of the Fire Association, joining the department in 1949 with more than 70 years of dedicated service to the community.
From 1973 to 1974 he served as the chief of the association and from 1984 to 1985 he headed up the administrative end as president. For many years, he also served as assistant chief and enjoyed being a mentor to the station’s younger firefighters.
Jones could always be found in the station (almost daily), enjoying a cup of coffee, tidying up, and talking with life members and rookies alike. He will be remembered as a leader, a friend and a gentleman by all those that knew him, and will be sorely missed.
“He was a great leader. He was an inspiration. And most of all he was a gentleman,” said Newtown Fire Chief Glenn Forsyth, who has known Jones practically his whole life.
“He was was one of the coordinators of the junior firefighter program when I joined 50 years ago. He was quite a man,” said Forsyth. “And he was 100 percent for the fire association. He loved Newtown. He loved the fire association. And he was committed to it.”
Forsyth said Jones was involved in every aspect of the company, from keeping the apparatus running to sweeping the floors. “He was the guy you turned to to get things done.
“You just don’t find people like him anymore,” said Forsyth.
Jones, a life long Newtown Borough resident, died at the age of 95 on January 28, 2021 at Chandler Hall, Newtown.
Growing up in Newtown, he attended Newtown High School where he also played baseball. Prior to graduating he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18. Several years ago Albert received his High School Diploma in a ceremony honoring local veterans who never graduated.
Following his military service, Albert returned to Newtown and joined the Newtown Fire Association in 1949.
For 42 years, Albert worked for PECO as a gas supervisor. After retirement he worked for 25 years at Rhodes Flower and Gift Shop. He also volunteered his time working for Newtown Borough and could often be seen in the downtown area offering a friendly smile and wave.
"Albert Jones was a man dedicated to his community, his family and the Newtown Fire Association," said Mayor Charles "Corky" Swartz. "He was proud of keeping Newtown clean and making sure his town would be the best it could it be." And it was "all done in the same manor he displayed every day of his life - with a smile, a quick laugh and on his way to the next task in his day."
Michael Stevens, who captured photos of his funeral procession, described Jones as a “pillar of the community” who received “an impressive sendoff” from the association.
“Every morning Al would go to Becky’s Deli for his coffee and proceed to the firehouse to jabber with the young firefighters,” he said. “However, before he left his house, he would fly the flag, take two steps back and salute Old Glory. Newtown Borough lost a legend.”
Albert was a devoted father, a caring and supportive grandfather and great-grandfather who rarely missed any of his grandchildren's activities. He was proud of his family and his service to his country and the Newtown Fire Association.
Memorial contributions in Albert's memory may be made to the Newtown Fire Association, 14 Liberty Street, Newtown 18940or Chandler Hall, 99 Barclay St. Newtown 18940.