VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach City Council members will remember their colleague, Louis Jones.
We first reported his death on Saturday while he was out campaigning for his ninth term in office.
Jones, who was 86, served on Virginia Beach City Council as Councilman, Vice-Mayor, and Mayor.
On Tuesday, city council remembered the legacy that will live on in the resort city by comments during council and a black ribbon across his chair and a candle where he would have rested his arms.
Jones spent 35 years on council and 17 years as Vice-Mayor. He was known as a straight shooter who if he didn’t want to answer a question, would simply smile and kindly walk away, and by doing so, gave you indication of what the answer was.
One of the last pictures of Virginia Beach Councilman Louis Jones on the day he died was standing with fellow councilmembers. He would die while campaigning for re-election.
“It is as shocking and surprising as it was, I think that comforted us…that he died doing what he loved to do,” said his grandson Casey.
The 86-year-old died going door-to-door meeting new voters and seeking re-election.
“He was in great health and shape. He had lost 60 pounds over the last two years, had really taken his health to heart, and he went out of his way doing what he loved to do,” Casey told us.
Councilman Jones was one of those who couldn’t retire. He was a doer.
“He needed something on his mind he needed a project…always doing.”
Councilman Jones cared about the city he served for over 35 years, Casey remembers.
“He was an honest, humble, genuine person. He was very calculated in everything he did. He did not rush to judgment, he was a listener, and listened to everything before he spoke. That is why he commanded such respect. He commanded it with his presence.”
Using those talents with amazing vision, Louis Jones’ greatest achievement involved the flow of water from Lake Gaston to the resort strip of Virginia Beach.
“He knew the one thing that was going to be important to us was water,” Casey remembered.
Jones brokered the deal that brought water from Lake Gaston to Virginia Beach.
“We didn’t have a freshwater source in Virginia Beach of our own that was clean, and he knew back then that is something we had to get, and that initiated his efforts.”
In 2018 as Mayor, Jones and Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander toasted with glasses of water the water extension for Norfolk processing water for Virginia Beach.”
“When you were with him and sat down with him, he was always engaged like he was with anyone on the city staff,“ Casey remembered.
Casey’s son, soon to be 11-years-old Gordon joined wearing his ‘Louis Jones for City Council’ hat.
Louis planted the political seeds in Gordon who worked on Granpa’s campaigns. He seems destined to go into politics.
“I will probably start off small like work my way up to City Council, (then to) congress, and I someday want to run for President.”
Now 11, Gordon will be eligible to be President in the year 2046.
You could also tell Louis Jones loved his family.
“Everybody looked up to him, all the grandchildren looked up to him, everybody who ran into him, when they saw him, he always wanted to give a big hug to all his grandchildren,” Casey says.
Casey told me his grandfather once told him:
“Casey, you have to figure out how to make things work. You have to figure out how to bring people together and make things work.”
That’s what Louis Jones did, he made things work.
In the end, Councilman Louis Jones was more interested in consensus than getting credit.