GREENSBORO — Ruby Nell Jones didn’t do things halfway.
Whether it was helping out a relative, doing volunteer work for her church or laying out a fancy dinner party in Irving Park for Sally and Alan Cone, her longtime employers, she always delivered, say friends and family.
In 1995, when Jones began raising money for Triad Health Project’s annual Winter Walk for AIDS, it was more of the same. Over a period of eight years, she personally raised more than $10,000 for the charity, most of it by soliciting donations from friends of the Cones whom Jones had met over the years.
The Cones didn’t mind at all. Jones had worked for the family since 1963 as a housekeeper, cook and much more. “She was very much a part of our family,’’ says Alan Cone. “She helped raise our children.’’
When Jones, 69, died in a traffic accident in September 2003, the Cones, vacationing in Italy at the time, were devastated. Then they decided to carry on Jones’ cause by raising money for the Winter Walk. This year’s 13th annual walk will be Sunday.
“It was to keep Ruby’s memory alive,’’ says Sally Cone, who along with her husband has raised more than $6,000 for Winter Walk over the past two years by sending letters to the same friends that Jones once solicited in person and over the phone.
Over the course of Jones’
40-plus years of working for the Cones, they had become her friends, too. They knew what to expect when visiting the Cone home on Country Club Drive.
“She was really cute,’’ says Carolyn Green, one of those whom Jones contacted each year about donating. “Every time you went over there, she would hit you up for the Winter Walk. And if she didn’t get the check, she would call and remind you. She’d say, ‘I’m sure you must have forgotten.’ ”
Jones was one of the biggest individual fund-raisers for Winter Walk, which usually brings in $90,000 to $100,000 each year, says Wendy Lavine, director of community involvement for THP.
Jones had never been one to sit idly by, says her daughter, Ruby Jones Cole, who works as a nurse at the Moses Cone Extended Care Center.
“When she found something she wanted to do, she went at it wholeheartedly,’’ Cole says.
Jones originally got involved with helping THP, a nonprofit agency, and its Winter Walk fund-raiser through her church, the South Eugene Street Church of Christ, says her daughter.
According to the Cones, Jones was concerned with the spread of HIV and AIDS in the black community and wanted to stir up support to fight the disease. “She said she had seen a neighbor of hers die,’’ says Sally Cone. “She thought it was so useless.’’
Contact Tom Steadman at
574-5583 or tsteadman@