In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Mary Helen Brandon Jones, 85

Helen Jones

Mary Helen Brandon Jones, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among South Asian Affinity Peoples in Bangladesh and East Asian Affinity Peoples in Taiwan, died Jan. 7, 2020. She was 85.

Born Jan. 15, 1934, in Louisville, Kentucky, to Marvin A. Brandon and Eppie Drennan McBroom Brandon, she grew up in Woodbury, Tennessee After graduating from Woodbury Central High, Helen enrolled at Ward Belmont College. During her time there, it became four-year Belmont College, and she was the first graduate of the new four-year college, receiving the Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1955. Foreign Mission Board President Baker James Cauthen spoke at her graduation.

While in college she met Donald William Jones, an airman from Sewart Air Force Base. They were married Dec. 17, 1955.

Helen taught at Woodbury High School and Central High School in Murfreesboro while Don earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts Education from Middle Tennessee State College.

They then moved to Ohio, where Don worked as a teacher, and then to Amarillo, Texas, where they taught and were dorm parents at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.

Both feeling God’s leading to something different, they were open to learning about missions work from  missionary Mike Wilson, whose background was also in industrial arts education, and his wife, Kitty. The Joneses were appointed missionaries April 9, 1968, and left Tennessee with a row of matching American Tourister suitcases and their five kids.

In what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) they began to learn the Bengali language and tell the people there about Christ. But after three years, civil war between East and West Pakistan began and the Jones family returned to the United States before relocating to Taichung, Taiwan. During the next 25 years, Don and Helen both worked at Morrison Academy, a school for missionary children. They also led Bible studies and English classes in homes and local churches where they could share God’s love with the people of Taiwan.

After retiring in 1995, they returned to Woodbury. Later, they spent winters in Leesburg, Florida, until Don’s death in 2013.

Jones is survived by her children Bill (Sandy) Jones, Bob (Penney) Jones, Becky (Jim) Courson, Brian Jones and Beth (Jesse) Thomas: three grandchildren; one great granddaughter and another to be born soon.

A funeral service was held Jan. 11, 2020, at First Baptist Church, Woodbury.

Memorial donations may be made to International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or to the Gideons.

Read an obituary here.