Once more Nyack College feels the sting of another loss. This time the campus community learned of the homegoing of a 1944 Nyack alumnus, who was a pacesetter in Christendom. Dr. Howard O. Jones, a former Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor, passed away on November 14 at the age of 89.
A onetime jazz musician, he accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior at an Alliance church in Oberlin, OH and later enrolled at then Nyack Missionary Training Institute to fulfill his dream of becoming a preacher of the gospel. He and his wife, Wanda, who predeceased Dr. Jones in 2001, were both Nyack alumni who lived in West Africa doing missionary work from 1959 to 1964.
Dr. Jones is widely known for breaking the color barrier in 1958, when he became the first African American who was invited by Billy Graham to be a part of the internationally renowned evangelist’s crusade team. He served with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) for 35 years. Dr. Jones was the primary speaker on the Association’s radio broadcast, “Hour of Freedom.” In 1995, he was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
His autobiography, “Gospel Trailblazer: An African American Preacher’s Historic Journey Across Racial Lines” was released by Moody Publishers in 2003.
Howard Jones is survived by his children—Cheryl, Phyllis, David, Lisa, and Gail, who is the wife of baseball great, André Thornton, as well as five grandchildren.
A memorial service was held on November 20 at Oberlin Alliance Church in Ohio.