Lee West Jones Jr., D.D.S., died at home, peacefully in his sleep, Sept. 6. He was 87 years old.
Jones was born March 1, 1934, in Flint to Mary (Shipman) Jones, a homemaker, and Lee West Jones Sr., an autoworker. His loving family lived on Flint’s Northeast side.
Jones attended Flint public schools. Always athletic, he earned seven varsity letters in football, basketball and track. Jones enrolled at Flint Community Junior College where he was voted student council president. At Hillsdale College on athletic scholarship, Jones was the football team’s leading pass receiver and the basketball team’s most valuable player. He graduated from Hillsdale in 1957 with a B.S. in chemistry.
Jones was accepted into the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1961. He went on to serve his country as a dentist for the U.S. Air Force in England.
Jones returned to Ann Arbor in 1963. He opened his own dental practice, making him the town’s first Black dentist. Earlie “Dee” Wilson was his dental assistant for 40-some years of his practice.
In 1971, Jones became the first minority admissions recruiter for the School of Dentistry. His efforts produced more than 250 Black dentists over 25 years. In 1996, Jones retired as the director of Minority Affairs.
Jones’ many honors include the Civil Rights Award from the National Dental Association, the Ida B. Gray Award from U-M, the Alumni Society Board of Governors Distinguished Service Award from the School of Dentistry, Alpha Man of The Year from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. — Theta Zeta Lambda Chapter, and the Leonard F. Sain Esteemed Alumni Award from the U-M Black Alumni Association.
Jones is survived by Lola M. Jones, his wife of nearly 55 years; four daughters, Joan (Donald Wurster) Gibson, Janet Gibson, D.O.; Carol Gibson; and Karen-Lee (Anthony) Stewart, D.D.S. He also is survived by his brother Charles (Vernessa) Jones; four grandchildren; and a host of loving nieces, nephews, extended family members, mentees and friends.
Jones was preceded in death by his parents, Mary and Lee West Jones Sr.; his siblings Lee Edward Jones, Laura Garner, Margaret Jones, Albert Jones, Janet Barbee, Doris Nunn, Monroe Jones and Warner Jones.
A private celebration of life has taken place, and information can be found online at myumi.ch/4px2g A public memorial service will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be designated for the Lee Jones Scholarship Fund or the Lee Jones Dental Diversity Program: U-M School of Dentistry, Office of Alumni Relations, 1011 N. University Ave., Suite 1420, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
— Submitted by the Jones family