Longtime Macon attorney Frank Jones died Wednesday night at home after fighting leukemia for several months. He was 87.
In his six decade-long law career, he represented clients as famous as the Coca-Cola Co. and argued cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2010, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue chose Jones to lead a team of eight lawyers representing Georgia in a challenge against the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Jones, raised in Macon, started his law career in 1950 at the downtown firm of Jones, Cork & Miller. His great-grandfather was one of the firm’s founders.
In 1977, he moved to Atlanta to join the King & Spalding law firm, where he worked until 2001 when he returned to Macon.
He maintained an office at the Jones, Cork & Miller firm while working in an “of counsel” capacity.
Jones continued to work even after being diagnosed with leukemia about nine months ago. He came into the office up until about three months ago, even after starting chemotherapy treatment, said Macon lawyer Hugh Lovein, a partner at the firm.
“He never quit until it was impossible for him to work,” Lovein said.
Jones dictated notes onto tapes, which his wife would drive to the office door. His secretary would take the tapes and hand over transcriptions from the previous day’s tape, Lovein said.
For Lovein, who met Jones as a University of Georgia law graduate interviewing for a job in 1970, Jones was a mentor.
“He was a great teacher,” Lovein said.
Carr G. Dodson, another partner at Jones, Cork & Miller, remembered Jones as
“a great lawyer and a wonderful man.”
“Everybody will miss him,” Dodson said. “He was in the great generation.”
Retired Bibb County Superior Court Judge George Culpepper said Jones was “an example of what an outstanding lawyer should be.”
“I’d always admired him as being one of the finest of the fine,” Culpepper said. “His reputation and abilities were of the highest order.”
While in Atlanta at King & Spalding, Jones was a leader, mentor, partner and friend to lawyers across every generation at the firm, Firm Chairman Robert D. Hays Jr. said in a written statement.
“His unsurpassed legal skills and energy, as well as his integrity, sense of humor and devotion to his family and his fellow lawyers stand as a lasting inspiration,” Hays said. “Frank’s legacy stands as a lasting inspiration, and we will miss him.”
During his career, Jones served as president of the Georgia Bar Association, Macon Bar Association, American College of Trial Lawyers and the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society.
He worked on the panel that reviewed judicial qualifications when President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981.
Jones also served as president of the Macon Chamber of Commerce, president and campaign chairman of the United Givers Fund of Macon-Bibb County, chairman of the American Red Cross Macon Chapter and president of Idle Hour Club.
As a member of Vineville United Methodist Church, Jones was a former chairman of the Administrative Board and Board of Trustees. He taught Sunday school for more than 60 years.
Dodson said tennis was one of his recreational passions.
He had “a tremendous forehand ... with topspin,” Dodson said.
Hart’s at the Cupola is handling funeral arrangements.
Writer Oby Brown contributed to this report. Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. Check back at Macon.com and read Friday’s Telegraph for more on this story.