John M. Jones III, longtime Sun publisher, dies at 101


John M. Jones III, 101, longtime publisher of The Greeneville (Tenn.) Sun and a major force in local economic development and civic life from the late 1940s to the late 1990s, died peacefully Tuesday afternoon, July 26, surrounded by family.

A native of Sweetwater, Tenn., he joined the Sun in December 1945 following almost four years of service with the U.S. Army in World War II.

He joined the newspaper as assistant general manager at the request of his mother-in-law, the late Edith O'Keefe Susong, who was publisher of the Sun and its predecessor newspapers from 1916 until her death in 1974.

He and his wife, the former Arne Susong, bought a half-ownership in the newspaper and he succeeded Mrs. Susong as publisher at her death.

He has continued to hold that position, although, for health reasons, he has not been able to be active in the management of the Sun for more than 10 years.

His son, Gregg K. Jones, is co-publisher of the newspaper and serves as treasurer of the SNPA Foundation.  Gregg Jones also is a past president of SNPA.

During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, he played the key leadership role in expanding the family's newspaper interests to include community newspapers in several other East Tennessee towns, including Newport, Athens, Rogersville, Loudon/Lenoir City, and Sweetwater/Monroe County.

The company has in recent years become Jones Media, Inc., consisting of community daily newspapers in Greeneville, Maryville and Athens and non-daily newspapers in Newport, Rogersville, Lenoir City, Sweetwater, Dayton, and the High Country of western North Carolina, including Boone.

He also played a key role in the family's establishment in 1988 of The Business Journal of Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, usually known in the region as The Business Journal, which the company operated for several years. It was later sold.

A former president of the Tennessee Press Association, he was also a former board of directors member of what was then the American Newspaper Publishers Association (now the Newspaper Association of America).

He served three elected three-year terms, the maximum allowed, as a member of the Associated Press Board of Directors.

Jones was also an original member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and is widely regarded as the unofficial "father" of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced at a later time.

Jones, Greeneville


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