LA MARQUE — One of the city’s “greatest citizens,” Calvin “Cowboy” Jones, was killed when his pickup collided with a tractor-trailer in El Campo during the weekend. He was 82.
Jones was trying to cross U.S. Highway 59 in his Ford truck at 9:20 p.m. Saturday when he pulled in front of the big rig, El Campo police said in a report published by the Victoria Advocate.
The driver of the eighteen-wheeler swerved to avoid Jones’ truck but struck a Honda and then Jones’ F-150. The truck caught fire.
Jones was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the big rig and the four people in the Honda were unharmed.
“La Marque has lost one of our greatest citizens,” Mayor Bobby Hocking said. “I loved the man and quite frankly he loved me. Then again all of his friends feel the same way about their relationships with Mr. Jones.”
Jones, a 1949 graduate of La Marque High School and U.S. Army veteran, had lived in the La Marque community since 1939. He worked at Amoco Oil Refinery in Texas City before founding Jones Electric Company.
He was active in the Lions Club and in the late 1970s served as the district governor. Jones was in El Campo to help the Lions Club there install new members, longtime friend Louis “Mac” McGaffey, said.
“I feel like I have lost my brother,” McGaffey said. “There was a group of us hanging out having coffee and joking on Friday.”
McGaffey said he and Jones became friends after the two worked together on what was then known as Fair on the Square. Jones was the event’s first chairman and was chairman of the event 20 times through the years. He helped reintroduce the event as Bayou Fest as a vice chairman of the city’s parks board, which McGaffey chairs.
Jones was a regular at city functions and council meetings and never slowed down, despite the crippling effects of arthritis, McGaffey said.
McGaffey said he and Jones also knew each other professionally since McGaffey is in the plumbing business. As the two worked on projects, McGaffey said he would occasionally help Jones with electrical jobs.
“He would say that he was the brains of the operation and I was the manual labor,” McGaffey joked. “I would say to him I was the only one ever willing to work with him. We were both hard headed so we had no choice but get along.”
Jones’ dedication to the community was recognized in 2011 when he was named co-marshal of the city’s Christmas parade. Jones was so proud of the honor he kept the magnetic sign on his truck.
Hocking said the city plans to dedicate this year’s Bayou Fest in Jones’ honor.
“I’m hopeful that a permanent memorial can be established at Highland Bayou Park,” Hocking said.
Jones is survived by his wife, Denise, and two sons and two daughters. Memorial services are pending.