Sunday, May 26, 2013

Aubrey Alling Jones, R.I.P.

When I first decided to attend Georgia Military College (where, I am quick to point out, I was in the Corps of Cadets -- it was a different school than it is now, just an observation) on of the first letters that I received was from A. Alling Jones, the-then Alumni Director (I can't recall exactly what his title was) and I remember specifically it referencing "when you pass through those historic gates" somewhere in the course of it; it was a form letter and he did not then know me from Adam's housecat but the phrase stuck with me. Later on, during my time as a cadet I needed some bit of information for, as I recall, a dining-in and so I went to see him and had a good time visiting with him. I got the information that I needed and we saw each other occasionally during the rest of my time there. After I graduated -- and became an alumnus -- I got to know Alling better, especially after he engineered my election to the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association some years later.

Alling had trained in the law and practiced it for a time, but he loved GMC and so he was happy to go and work there, doing yeoman's work keeping alumni connected with the school. He also taught French and, somewhat unusually, enrolled at Georgia College after completing college and a law degree to obtain a second bachelor's degree in French so that he could teach the language at GMC (I know he taught in the prep school and he may have taught in the college as well -- languages not being my forte, I stayed far, far away during my time there). Such was his love of learning and of the school that he'd attended as a younger man. Alling had done some work at Duke Divinity School but ultimately decided on the law and when he found out I was headed to seminary he made a point of giving me my first Greek Lexicon; I still have it.  

Some time after that he left the Alumni Office at GMC, going on to do other things including serving as a municipal judge, but his love for the institution endured.

Alling was an active Episcopalian and communicant at St. Stephen's Church in Milledgeville. When he found out that I'd swum the Thames and moved from the Presbyterianism of my upbringing he heartily congratulated me on the decision. I last visited him in December 2006 while in Milledgeville; it was a good time of catching up but he'd had some health problems. Some time ago I'd gotten wrod from a mutual friend that he'd moved to a nursing home and he had been remembered in my prayers for some time. I had hope to visit him when I got back to Milledgeville.

Judge Aubrey Alling Jones died this morning, and I regret that I'll not have a chance for that visit but I give thanks for his friendship and a life well lived. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!