Friends of the Forest – Ralph Jones
Ralph Jones grew up in the Bronx in New York City. After a brief, unsuccessful stint at NY Institute of Technology, he was drafted and went into the Army for 3 years including one year in Vietnam. Upon returning he was recruited due to his basketball acumen to Winston Salem State University. He was coached by the legendary Coach “Big House” Gaines. Ralph was also successful as a student there and received his degree in education. He was inducted into the Clarence “Big House” Gaines Hall of Fame at Winston Salem State University in 2013.
Ralph returned to NY City and taught physical education and computer science for twenty-five years. He took a few detours along the way, but kept returning to teaching. His wife Karen was also a NYC teacher and they took some timeshare trips to Myrtle Beach. Eventually they took early retirement and moved to Myrtle Beach in 2002. Shortly after arriving, Ralph was attending some buffets with regularity and began to swell in size. He decided that he had better work out at the Wellness Center at Conway Medical Center. There he met Dr. Carl Records who was in the midst of founding the Carolina Forest Rotary Club along with Carlos Scheer and a few others. Ralph was “reeled into” the “Conway East” Rotary Club which later became the Carolina Forest Sunrise Rotary.
Around this same time, Ralph and Karen gave up their time share and went on a cruise and the “cruising bug” has affected them ever since. Ralph and Karen have been to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, the Grand Canyon, the Canadian Rockies, the Mediterranean, many islands in the Caribbean and several river cruises in Europe. The Jones’s philosophy is “we’re relatively healthy, so let’s go see these places!”
Ralph likes how Rotary helps locally and has a worldwide reach. His best story about traveling and Rotary is visiting the Auckland, New Zealand Rotary. He was directed to a meeting that he did not know was happening and he was a little late. “What do you think those guys thought when this big, black guy walks into the room?” But he was welcomed warmly there and various other places. He has been asked by several women about joining the Club, and his answer is “they accepted me”. There are many more tales of adventure from Carolina Forest Rotary Club’s “Mr. Marvelous”, that are too long for this story.
Written By: Scott Burleson
Published By: Brooke Vu