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Longtime Wilson County Board of Commissioners member and current Chairwoman Bobbie Jones died Wednesday, and the community is grieving the loss of a woman who believed in making Wilson a better place and worked hard at doing so for more than 30 years.
County officials said they not only lost a leader, but a friend who loved Wilson County and its residents.
“Mrs. Jones loved Wilson County, and it was visible in her leadership and the way she served others,” said County Manager Denise Stinagle. “We express condolences to her family. We have very grateful hearts for all that Bobbie contributed to our lives. Wilson County is a better place because of her life.”
Jones, a Democrat, has served as a commissioner since 1987. She has chaired the board since 2015 and prior to that served as vice chairwoman.
“We are extremely saddened by her passing,” said Commissioner Rob Boyette, the board’s current vice chairman. “Bobbie was a solid leader and such a beautiful person. We will miss both of those qualities.”
The Wilson County Government Center on Miller Road will fly its flag at half-staff through Monday in Jones’ honor.
“Mrs. Jones had so much passion for government and care and concern for others,” said Assistant County Manager Ron Hunt. “She believed in Wilson County, and it showed in her work and in her life.”
Hunt said Jones always brought a sense of peace, dignity and kindness to any situation.
In addition to her extensive history with the county, Jones worked for more than four decades at Wilson Medical Center as a medical transcription supervisor.
Jennifer Lantz, Wilson Economic Development executive director, called Jones “one of Wilson’s great leaders.”
“She was thoughtful and deliberate in the decisions she made,” Lantz said. “Her service helped create the community that we are today.”
Lantz said Jones’ life and her leadership set a great example for future generations.
“Improving the economy and raising the standard of living for every resident were critical issues for Bobbie,” she added.
Lantz said she was grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside Jones.
U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield said Wednesday he was saddened to learn of the passing of his dear friend. Butterfield said Jones was a “devoted champion for the people of Wilson County and eastern North Carolina.”
“Through her work as county commissioner, she made Wilson County a better place to call home,” Butterfield said. “Her passion for public service will not be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers go out to Bobbie’s family and loved ones during this time of loss.”
Jones, a native of Greenville, was educated in Pitt County public schools. She also studied at North Carolina A&T State University and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Jones is survived by her husband, Frank, and three children, Darrell, Carl and Bobbie.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.