In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Bobby Leland Jones, 84

Bobby Leland Jones, 1937-2021
IMB Photo

Bobby Leland Jones, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Indonesia and India, died Nov. 28, 2021. He was 84.

Jones was born May 9, 1936, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to the late Mark Twain and Leonora Alma Jones. When he was 9, the family moved to a farm outside Jones, Oklahoma, where he graduated from Jones High School. Jones enlisted in the United States Army and served in New Jersey, California and Hawaii.

While studying at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jones met Mary Jo Carriker through the Baptist Student Union. They were married Sept. 2, 1961. Jones later received the Bachelor of Arts from Central State College, Edmond Oklahoma, and the Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

Beginning while he was in college, Jones served in ministry positions in churches in Collinsville and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, before becoming pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Healdton, Oklahoma.

When seeking missionary appointment, Jones wrote that he became a Christian as a child and still remembered “the peace that flooded me when I accepted Christ as my Saviour.” A few weeks later, he spoke to his best friend about accepting Christ and the friend responded during the invitation. “The joy of seeing others saved has never ceased to thrill my soul,” he wrote.

While in seminary, he and Mary Jo attended Foreign Mission Week at the Baptist conference center in Glorieta, New Mexico. They were thrilled by the missionary appointment service, he wrote, and responded in unity to a call to international missions.

The Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed them missionaries to Indonesia in 1967. During the 27 years they were there, Jones served as a church planter and building consultant. According to his family, he maintained missionary vehicles and repaired and upgraded missionary homes and churches. He managed construction of a 50-bed Baptist hospital in Sumatra and upgrades to the Baptist hospital in Kediri, Indonesia. The Joneses spent their last three years as missionaries in India, where he managed upgrades to the Baptist hospital in Bangalore.

They retired in 2000 to Tulsa, where they were members of South Tulsa Baptist Church.

A memorial service was held Dec. 2, 2021, at South Tulsa Baptist Church.

Bobby is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Jo Jones; his three children; Mark Jones (Lisa), Dan Jones (Tiff) and Susan Jones; and two grandchildren. He also is survived by two brothers, Gerald Jones (Janice) and John Jones (Cecilia).

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering through South Tulsa Baptist Church, 10310 S. Sheridan Road, Tulsa, OK 74133.