Former RCAPS superintendent dies at 83

Former RCAPS superintendent Ervin Jones passed away Saturday, Oct. 19. He was 83. (Courtesy photo)

Former RCAPS superintendent Ervin Jones passed away Saturday, Oct. 19. He was 83. (Courtesy photo)

REED CITY — A bus driver, a teacher and eventually superintendent, Ervin Jones, 83, passed away Saturday, Oct. 19, after years of hard work and dedication to Reed City Area Public Schools.

After attending RCAPS as a student, Jones began his career there in 1963 as a business teacher, after earning a bachelor of science degree in business teaching from Ferris Institute.

He also received a master’s degree and education specialist degree from Central Michigan University, and served in the U.S. Army.

In his time at RCAPS, he was able to grow in his career, teaching, coaching, advising and working as a superintendent, even winning an award for administrator of the year in 1995.

“He cared tremendously about Reed City, and he especially cared a lot about all the kids,” Rich Jacobs, a RCAPS student who was later hired by Jones as a teacher, said.

Always involved, Jones helped wherever he could, even driving the school bus to and from sporting events, Jacobs said.

He added as a former student of Jones, he has many memories of his mentor, including an instance where Jones made him leave the classroom for disrupting the learning environment.

“He still hired me, though,” Jacobs noted.

Walt Podafuly, former school psychologist at the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District, also remembers years working alongside Jones.

He recalled one specific memory of Jones running to help students after a school bus crash in the mid-1980s.

“Erv showed up really quickly. When he found out I was on the bus, he was very helpful, and even visited me in the hospital,” Podafuly said.

Podafuly added while not knowing Jones closely, he was glad he had the chance to work with someone who touched so many lives.

“I remember him to be friendly and happy. I only really saw him in passing, but he was the kind of person who always remembered your name,” Podafuly said. “He was a good guy.”

While dedicating much of his time to RCAPS, Jones also volunteered to teach tennis during his summers in Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs. He even returned to Ferris in his 50s to become certified as a tennis teaching professional.

He also spent a lot of time with family and took many vacations abroad with his wife, Marilyn Jones, who survives him.

Together, the couple raised three kids, and also had seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and two more great-grandchildren on the way.

“He was a good friend, a good teacher and a good boss,” Jacobs said.