PHILADELPHIA — It almost seemed like everybody in the city knew Harold "Skin" Jones.
Just about everywhere he went he was greeted by people who knew either him or one or more of his five brothers.
He had been a popular bartender, had worked for several funeral homes, had owned his own limousine service for 30 years and was active in his church and community.
But mostly it was because Harold was such fun to be with.
"He was outgoing and gregarious," said his son, William H. Jones. "He had a thousand friends."
Harold Jones, a Navy veteran of World War II, died Oct. 21. He was 82 and lived in Overbrook Farms.
He was born in Philadelphia to Ethel and Ulysses Jones and graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served in the Pacific Theater as a gunner's mate. He was discharged in 1946.
He worked for a number of clubs as a bartender and was an active member of the Cosmopolitan Athletic Association.
He worked part-time for several funeral directors in the city, mostly as a driver, and was a baker for a time for the old Acme Bakery in Wynnefield.
In 1959, he married the former Hettie Peterson. She died in 2001.
In the early '60s, Harold started the Jones Livery Service. He worked largely for funeral homes, but eventually the business expanded to include a full line of limousine services.
"With the support of Hettie, his wife and partner, Jones Livery/Limousine quickly grew to become the largest black-owned limousine service in Philadelphia, serving the Philadelphia area for over 30 years," his son said.
Harold was an active member of Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church. Although he held no positions with the church, he was available for any chore the church needed done, including fundraising.
"He was fun-loving," his son said, "always smiling. He always had a joke to tell you and he loved kidding people. He knew people from all walks of life, working as a bartender and with the Cosmopolitan Social Club. He also knew lots of people through his work with the funeral homes.
"Harold enjoyed life and took great pleasure in spending time with friends and family, laughing and joking.
"Naturally generous and understanding the value of a leg up, he was quick to help a friend in need.
"He always had positive things to say. No one ever said a bad word about him. He went out of his way to help people."
William added that family was central to his father.
"As 'Uncle Harold,' he could always be counted on to offer encouragement or assistance in time of need. As 'Dad,' his children never doubted his unconditional love and support. As 'Pop Pop,' he took great joy in spending time with his grandchildren."
Harold also was active with block organizations trying to keep the neighborhood clean and beautiful.
"He wanted to be part of the community," his son said.
Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter, Wanda Jones; a brother, Frank; and four grandchildren. He was predeceased by four other brothers, John, James, Isaac Leon and Lewis.
SOURCE: Philadelphia Daily News