BERRYVILLE — The community is remembering a Clarke County native who, after returning home from college, became a highly-regarded educator for almost four decades.
Paul R. Jones Sr. died Tuesday in Portsmouth. He was 74.
Born and raised in Berryville, Jones attended the former Johnson-Williams School. He earned an undergraduate degree from Allen University and then a master’s degree from the University of Virginia.
Jones rose through the ranks of the Clarke County Public Schools during his 38-year educational career.
He started his career in August 1968 as a teacher at Boyce Elementary School. In 1974, he was promoted to teacher/assistant principal at Boyce and remained in that position for two years. He then served as principal of the former Berryville Primary School from 1976 to 1991, principal at D.G. Cooley Elementary School from 1991 to 1997 and central office director from 1997 to 2003. He officially retired then, but he continued working part-time for the schools until June 2006.
Rick Catlett, the school division’s assistant superintendent, recalled that when he arrived in Clarke County as an educator roughly 30 years ago, Jones already was “an experienced and well-respected principal.”
“When I joined the administrative team, Paul became a trusted mentor and colleague,” Catlett said. “What I remember most about Paul is how genuinely he cared for all students.”
Jones also cared about the entire county, as was evident through his extensive community service.
Among his activities, Jones was on Berryville Town Council from July 1972 to June 1977, representing Ward 1. He was on the Clarke County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board from 1997 to 2018 and the county’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) from 2007 to 2019.
In addition, he devoted some of his time to helping Lord Fairfax Community College, Grafton School, the Tri-County OIC and the American Red Cross.
Jones also served as chairman of a committee that transformed a circa 1882 schoolhouse in the Josephine City section of Berryville into the Josephine Community School Museum and Clarke County African-American Cultural Center, which opened in 2003. He continued to be a board member for the museum and cultural center, its website shows.
“He was the go-to guy ... to make things get accomplished,” Berryville Town Manager Keith Dalton said. “He was dedicated to the community. His dedication showed through.”
Clarke County Board of Supervisors Chairman David Weiss, who represents the Buckmarsh District, served with Jones on the IDA. He recalled the retired educator as being “a thoughtful, compassionate man” who “really dedicated his whole life to the county.”
“He had quite a sense of humor,” Weiss recalled, “and he always had a story to tell.”
In a sign of respect for Jones’ service to the community, Berryville Mayor Patricia Dickinson issued a proclamation ordering the town’s flag outside the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center on Chalmers Court to be flown at half-staff and a ceremonial drape be mounted above the building’s main entrance June 5-13.
The flag already is lowered, and the drape installed, in honor of Stephen Lilly, a town employee who died in a motorcycle crash on Sunday.
Funeral arrangements for Jones are pending at Enders & Shirley Funeral Home in Berryville.