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Silver City Park to Be Named After Former Mayor, County Supervisor, State Representative Gerald Jones

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By Joe Foreman, Editor

SILVER CITY - A longtime public servant is being honored by his hometown of Silver City.
Later this month, the name of Gerald Jones will be added to the official name of the city’s Centennial Park on Main Street.

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Jones, who resides in Silver City with his wife Janet, served on the Silver City Board of Education for four years before being elected mayor, a position he held for 26 years. He also spent three years on the Mills County Board of Supervivors before being elected to the Iowa House of Representatives, where he spent five years.

“I appreciate what they’re doing,” Jones said of the decision to put his name on the park. “I’m  86.

I’ve resided here my entire life with the exception of serving in the military and going to schools.”

Jones is a graduate of Silver City High School and a veteran of the United States Air Force, having served during the Korean War. Gerald and Janet Jones just recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.

Jones was on the last Silver City school board before the district became part of the Glenwood Community School District.

“Treynor said come to Treynor and Malvern said come to Malvern, but we felt it made more sense to go to Glenwood - the county seat,” Jones recalled.

Jones’ 26 years as mayor were sometimes challenging, but the city accomplished a lot, Jones said, because of the support of fellow elected officials and citizens in the community who stepped up as volunteers.

“I had a lot of good people working with me,” Jones said. “I used to tell the city council members to be very appreciative of volunteers. They do a lot for us and there aren’t very many of them.”

One of the city’s accomplishments Jones is most of proud from his tenure as mayor is the establishment of a volunteer rescue unit.

“Around 1970 I got a call about a World War II vet who was suffering and all we could do was take an oxygen mask to him and watch him die,” Jones said. “We needed to offer our community more and that’s when we started the rescue and ambulance service.”

Jones noted that in 1970, the city’s fire/ambulance building was built with no construction labor costs. All manpower was donated by local citizens.

Other major accomplishments during Jones’ tenure as mayor included dedication of Centennial Park and construction of the park’s gazebo, the development of two other parks (City Park and Community Park), asphalting of city streets, remodeling and updating of the public library, new sidewalks on Main Street, development of a city landfill, updating of the water treatment plant and multiple relocations and modernizing of City Hall. Jones and fellow citzens of the city fought hard and worked cooperatively with the U.S. Postal Service to keep the town’s post office open in the late 1990s.

Following a three-year stint on the county board of supervisors, Jones won a special election to a seat in the Iowa House of Representives, replacing Hubert Houser, who had moved over to the Senate.

Jones chuckled when recalling the first time he presented a bill to the floor of the legislature for a vote.

“I looked at the board and it was all red - everyone had voted against it. I thought to myself, ‘What did I do wrong?’ Then, after a couple minutes, my collegeaues starting coming up to me to shake my hand. It was a joke - kind of an initiation.”

Jones, a Republican, said he enjoyed working and meeting representatives from both sides of the aisle and had a good working relationship with Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat.

Janet Jones served as her husband’s secretary for the five years he served in the legislature from 2001-2005.

An open house for Jones, who worked as an insurance underwriter for 37 years and served on many community and regional boards, is planned for Sunday, July 28, from 2-4 p.m., in the Silver City Community Building. The event is being hosted by Gerald and Janet Jones’ children - Julie Jones Hergert of Omaha and Dr. Judson Jones of Omaha and their families.

Jones’ children also worked with current Silver City elected officials in getting the park designation in honor of their father.

“It’s very nice. I really appreciate our children doing all of this,” Jones said.