N.C. Sen. Ed Jones, D-Halifax, 62, died Friday, several months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Jones’ daughter, Alesha Garrett, said her father died at 2:20 p.m. at his Halifax County home.
Gov. Bev Perdue said Jones was a dedicated public servant who “was an advocate for education and a strong voice for the law enforcement community in our state.”
“Most of all, he was a great friend to me and I will always cherish our friendship,” she said. “Bob and I thank him for his service to the people of North Carolina, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to his family.”
Jones served three terms in the N.C. Senate and one term in the N.C. House. He served 30 years as an N.C. Highway Patrol trooper and later as police chief and mayor of Enfield.
“He was an amazing and dedicated public servant,” said N.C. Rep. Angela Bryant, D-Nash. “His career is an amazing public service to us.”
Jones was appointed to fill the seat of N.C. Rep. John Hall when Hall died in 2005 and was elected to the seat in 2006. Jones was appointed to the 4th District Senate seat vacated by the death of N.C. Sen. Robert Holloman in 2007.
Jones disclosed his illness publicly last summer, which was diagnosed in the spring. He underwent chemotherapy, and in a June interview said he didn’t ask for a prognosis from doctors but wasn’t giving up.
“I thought the courage he showed as he dealt with his diagnosis of cancer and his treatment was extraordinary,” Bryant said. “I will miss him, and Eastern North Carolina will miss him and the state of North Carolina will miss him.”
Senators held a dinner honoring Jones during this year’s session. Jones, known for often wearing bow ties, spoke from the Senate floor in the session’s final days about working together across party lines.
“He was truly one of the finest people I have ever met,” said N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, “and I will miss him greatly.”
Jones’ death means Democratic leaders in five northeastern counties that comprise his district — Halifax, Vance and Warren counties and parts of Nash and Wilson counties — will choose his successor to fill his next term through the end of 2014.
Jones was co-chairman of an N.C. General Assembly commission that recommended ways to ensure the work of the State Bureau of Investigation’s crime laboratory could be trusted following a blistering 2010 review of some of the lab’s activities.
U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1st District, said Jones was a “remarkable public servant and friend.”
“As a tireless advocate for rural communities, his service touched us all,” Butterfield said. “Sen. Jones was a gentle soul devoted to his family, church and community.”
Jones is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, two children and three grandchildren