1910 – 2006
Humanitarian service for troubled youth and the military
Born in 1910, Myldred Jones was regarded by many as a national treasure. She dedicated her life to the service of others. In fact, Jones lived her life so fully that it seems she lived several lives rolled up into one. She received her BA in Sociology and Social Studies at Wittenberg University, did graduate work at USC in Sociology and Public Administration and received her Honorary Doctorate of Public Services from Santa Clara University at age 88! One of her first jobs was teaching high school at the Frances de Paux School for Girls. From there she enlisted in the United States Navy, where she went on to serve as a Naval Officer during and following WWII.
After an illustrious 17-year Navy career where she was one of the first WAVES, Myldred Jones retired as a Lieutenant Commander. She exercised her humanitarianism through serving as Naval Liaison Officer for both the United Nations and National Red Cross and at her retirement in 1959 she was the director of Social Services of the Navy Relief Society.
Myldred Jones was far from retiring her efforts to impact the world around her. She became an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and not only marched with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery, but also labored to desegregate a Military Officers Club and an Episcopal Church near Selma. In 1969, she joined Cesar Chavez on his marches for United Farm Workers, and then worked in Watts and East Los Angeles to continue this work with teenagers.
Her dedication to working with youth continued. As a consultant to Ronald Reagan when he was Governor, she conducted an 18-month study of youth problems in California and founded Southern California’s “Hotline,” which handles calls from people in crisis and has since become a model throughout the U.S. and internationally as well.
At age 69 Jones showed no signs of slowing down. She founded Casa Youth Shelter where she positively impacted the lives of more than 8,000 youth and 32,000 family members who utilized Casa’s services.
At her 90th birthday party with 450 guests, four past presidents sent celebratory greetings along with 24 other presentations including the Secretary General of the United Nations, two U.S. Senators, the U.S. Congress and Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwartzkopf.
Myldred Jones’s love and caring touched the lives of thousands and thousands through her illustrious career.