William Fortune ‘Bill’ Jones, 63, boater, mischief maker, and perfecter of the fried shrimp, died on Friday, May 13, 2016, at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. A longtime resident of Wilmington, Bill was born the second of four children on September 6, 1952, in Smithfield.
Son of the late E. Craig Jones Jr. and Evelyn Fortune Jones, he grew up in Selma until attending ECU in 1970. It was in Greenville that he studied history, joined the Phi Tau fraternity and met Linda, his wife of 39 years. Bill took his commitment to the community very seriously with memberships in the Wilmington Cape Fear Rotary, where he served as a past president; initiating the French Exchange Program during his tenure; and as a master Mason at Wilmington Masonic A.F. & A.M. Lodge 319, part of his father’s legacy. He also volunteered his time with the Salvation Army, Masonboro.org and Roland-Grise Middle School.
He was equally dedicated to education, not only by continuing his own pursuits, but by educating a future generation as a substitute teacher after retirement. A big kid at heart, he followed the family tradition that you were never too old to learn, and went back to school at 50 for his teaching certificate at UNCW and received an Advanced Business Management Certificate from UNC Chapel Hill.
Bill will be remembered best not for his accomplishments, but for his playfulness. He was an avid traveler, fisherman, reader and conversationalist. There wasn’t an aspect of beach living he didn’t appreciate. Days on Masonboro Island, driving on the North Shore, diving the wrecks, or just reading them about from a beach chair were his favorite pastimes. He was the first one in the ocean and the last one to put on sunscreen.
For his family, he was the chief instigator of fun – no matter what part of the globe he was trekking. And he never met a Paula Deen recipe he didn’t love. Bill is survived by his wife, Linda; daughter, Christina; sister, Evelyn Costelloe; and many, many nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, at Lebanon Chapel at Airlie Gardens.
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