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OXFORD — Oxford City Schools’ staff and students are in mourning this week after a familiar and “well-loved” face was tragically taken from them over the weekend.
Phillip Jones, 52, of Jacksonville who spent the last 23 out of 29 years in education teaching at Oxford Middle School, was killed in an automobile accident in Jacksonville on Saturday.
Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown said Jones was transported from the scene to UAB Hospital where he died from his injuries. No charges have been filed in the accident.
Jones taught eighth-grade physical science and was the Greenpower USA coach at Oxford Middle. His wife, Elaine, has also been a teacher at the school for 17 years. The couple had been married for 26 years.
Oxford Superintendent Dr. Shannon Stanley said counselors are being made available for staff and students “as we mourn this loss together” of a teacher she described as “well-loved.”
Jones, a 1988 graduate of Hokes Bluff High School, earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from Jacksonville State University in 1992, then earned a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 2005.
He also earned a minister’s license in 1989 and worked with his wife in youth ministries. He has served as a youth pastor, minister of music/worship leader and associate pastor as well as working at children’s and youth camps during the summers. He was also a sponsor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“He loved Jesus and he wanted to show that to young people,” his wife posted to his social media account on Sunday. “If they learned science along the way then that was a bonus.”
He began his teaching career in 1994 at Jacksonville Christian Academy then spent two years at Ohatchee High School before coming to Oxford Middle School in 2000.
Jones also taught robotics, beginner piano, music production, career prep and helped with the makerspace where students can create projects or crafts based on their own interest or what they are studying in class.
“If you ever met him, you learned very quickly of his passion for students, especially in teaching 8th-grade science and coaching the Greenpower USA teams,” Stanley said. “He shaped and formed countless lives over his decades of service at Oxford City Schools and will be greatly missed.”
Stanley also asked for prayers for the family “during this most difficult time.”
A celebration of Jones’ life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Tredegar Chapel Congregational Holiness Church, 1849 Nisbet Lake Road in Jacksonville. The family will receive friends beginning at 11 a.m. until the time of the service.
K.L. Brown Funeral Home and Crematory, Jacksonville, is in charge of arrangements.