Bruce Jones remembered as ‘a man of integrity’

Colleagues, friends reminisce about longtime road commission manager

CENTREVILLE — Bruce Jones, who passed away earlier this month at the age 85, touched many lives as an engineer and manager of the St. Joseph County Road Commission for 52 years before retiring in 2010, and is remembered by friends and colleagues for his dedication to public service, as well as his integrity, and sense of humor.
Chris Minger, who recently retired from his post as managing director of the St. Joseph County Road Commission, said from the first time he met Jones back in 1971 it was clear that Jones had an incredible work ethic.
“When I came to the Road Commission in the spring of 1971 to interview for seasonal work, Bruce Jones was well established as the Engineer/Manager. I was hired on for that summer and subsequent summers while attending Michigan State University. The good Lord has a sense of humor and as things worked out I was hired full-time and given the opportunity to work in essentially all of the various aspects of the road commission,” Minger said.
“In doing so I was able to interact with Bruce not just as the boss, but as someone who shared visions and problem solving for various projects. Bruce always worked very hard and therefore when I was tasked with various projects you wanted to do your best and not disappoint him.”
Minger said in addition to a strong work ethic, Jones had a terrific sense of humor.
“Bruce was not above laughing at himself, and one of his best stories I recall is one of his golfing trips. He relished going south in late February or early March with a group of family and/or friends to golf. One year they were all out on the course and playing. As luck would have it Bruce said a couple of shots had gone out into the rough, and Bruce along with a couple of other of his buddies were in the tall grass and brush looking for their golf balls,” Minger said.
“A greens keeper came along and was watching and made the comment to the searchers ‘ya’ll ain’t from around here are ya?’ Bruce — always one to easily converse with people — piped up and answered that the group was from Michigan, and they were enjoying the weather and the golf. The greens keeper said he was glad they were enjoying themselves, but they should remember, ‘Down here we got critters.’ Bruce inquired what type of critters (the greens keeper) might be talking about. When the keeper started talking about gators, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes Bruce said they all hightailed it out of the rough. They all laughed about the incident, but carried more spare balls while down there. If you ever heard Bruce laugh you could appreciate the story much more.”
Minger added that Bruce “was a man of his word” and exemplified public service.
“Bruce was always kind and good to work with. He was always a man of his word and did all types of business with a handshake. […] He exemplified the term public service and civility to others,” Minger said.
Road Commissioner Rick Anderson said he has “known Bruce since the 70s and 80s, and he was very dedicated to his work.”
“He totally believed in service to his community and he truly lived it,” Anderson said.

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