To Science Hill High School’s graduating classes of 1959, 1960 and 1961, Tim P. Jones, their classmate and former Johnson City Press general manager, was someone special and worthy of being remembered.
And what better place to remember Jones than at his alma mater.
On Wednesday, a handful of Science Hill alumni from each of the class years gathered in the newly named “Grand Topper Hall,” as signage and a plaque they purchased and funded between the three classes was being placed in memory of Jones.
On a bare wall in the hall, the letters “SH” were place to the left of a white backdrop, the school crest was placed to the right and the words “Grand Topper Hall” were placed above by Foster Signs personnel.
A temporary plaque in Jones’ memory was added on the wall down from the signage. It will eventually be replaced by a bronze marker.
Jack Cox, class of 1960, arrived early for the signage and memorial placement and said it was a lot of fun to see their hard work and dedication come to fruition.
“Tim Jones and I grew up together, went all the way through school here in Johnson City,” he said.
Cox said Jones chaired the class reunions that combined the three class years, and was responsible for uniting everyone, which he said was successful under his leadership.
He said after Jones’ death last year a committee from the alumni group formed and began brainstorming ways to honor their friend. The committee began soliciting donations from former classmates around August and September, raising around $5,000 for the signage and memorial for Jones.
“We decided we wanted to do something in his memory and honor. We had several ideas, but the main thing that we decided ... was that since these were classes of Science Hill, that (this) was the idea that we ought to go with,” Cox said. “They (former classmates) responded wonderfully. We’re hoping that the word will spread what these visiting and former graduates and classes can do, small things like this that are greatly needed.
“It’s been a lot of fun and hopefully the kids will enjoy it. We hope this plaque will stay here a long time and be a tribute to his memory and all he did.”
Dianna Bailey, class of 1959 and historian for the alumni group, was part of the dedication fundraising effort, as she and a few others sent emails to former classmates for donations for the project.
Upon seeing the signage being placed Wednesday, Bailey said the memorial was very much a group effort.
“We (the alumni group) all worked together. We are very close,” she said. “We’re a very close-knit group.”
Of Jones, Bailey said he “was a great guy. He was always ready to help anybody at any time. He did a lot of great things for our school, for our reunions.”
Frank Hawkins, class of 1961 and former Johnson City Press employee under Jones, remembered him as a fun person to be around.
“He did so much and so many things that he deserves to be ... remembered around town. It’s nice to know that this is going to be here,” Hawkins said. “I miss him. He’s missed.”