Leonard J. Jones is a man who has earned the love, esteem, and respect from everyone who has had the pleasure of associating with him.
He was born in Widener, Arkansas to Amos and Ora Lee Jones and is the youngest of eight children. A child of the South during the 50's and 60s, Leonard excelled in high school football and served as a defensive linebacker for Anna M. Strong High School in Marianna Arkansas. His love of sports led him to Northeastern Illinois University where he majored in Recreation Sports Studies.
Wedding bells rang in 1968 when Leonard married his high school classmate Doris Shears Daniels. Two children, Leonard Carlos and Linette Carol, soon followed. The family settled in Chicago, Illinois, as Leonard Sr. began a 41-year career with CPC International/Best Foods/ACH Foods, where, he was employed as a Machine Operator. He has helped to produce many popular products such as Mazola Corn Oil and Argo Corn Starch.
Leonard's life-long love of sports has been a continuing thread throughout his life. In 1981 he began coaching inner city little league with the OBEY baseball program.
He also intensively studied the martial arts and has attained the rank of 4th-degree black belt in karate. He has established and operated karate schools located in churches for over 25 years, sharing his skills and enthusiasm with youth across the city. Many of these children were homeless and resided in shelters and on the streets. He is the founder and head instructor of the Burnside Martial Arts Center.
Leonard and Doris instilled in their children a family promise: "We will always help those who want to help themselves and will encourage others to want to help themselves." To that end, he has been Doris' #1 supporter in her many non-profit/social service positions, initiatives, and projects. They have opened their home to many relatives and others to give them the support and encouragement they needed to become self-reliant. He is active in the Burnside Community Baptist Church as an usher. (Brother-in-Law Rev. Albert Shears is the pastor) and a proud resident of the Beverly /Morgan Park Community.
As Leonard retires and enters the next phase of his life, the constants remain: He is a deeply committed husband (43 years!), father, God father and Child of God. His work teaching karate to children and volunteering in the community will continue and thrive.
Thank you, Leonard, for all you do to exemplify the goodness and commitment. Our community is enriched because of your work.