Earl R. Jones, a retired Baltimore assistant schools superintendent, died Feb. 13 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson of pancreatic cancer. He was 78.
The son of Vanderbilt Jones and Nanny Cobb Jones, Earl Roger Jones was born and raised in Donora, Pa., where he graduated in 1954 from Donora High School.
A singer and trombone player in his youth, Dr. Jones attended a Nat King Cole concert in Pittsburgh and went backstage at its conclusion.
"He and Nat King Cole shared a couple of cigarettes and then he asked my father, 'Are you good? Go to college and get an education. There are a lot of singers living on saltines and sardines,' " said his son, John Frederick Jones of Denver.
He followed the singer's advice and earned a bachelor's degree from Cheyney Training School for Teachers in Cheyney, Pa., which is now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
Dr. Jones then earned a master's degree in education from the Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in education from Temple University.
He began his career in the late 1950s teaching shop and music in city public schools. In 1977, when he was administrative assistant to the city superintendent of schools, he was named assistant superintendent for administrative services.
Dr. Jones was promoted in 1983 to regional superintendent for the southwest region, and five years later, he was named executive director for alternative/vocational schools. In 1989, he became director of vocational operations and curriculum.
After retiring in the late 1990s, he worked for several years for Sylvan Learning Systems.
The Roland Park resident enjoyed playing his trombone, listening to music and following the Ravens.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at the Stony Run Friends Meeting House, 5116 N. Charles St.
In addition to his son, Dr. Jones is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Eva Mary Baldwin; a daughter, Elaine Jones of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.