John Milton Jones, age 92, of Vienna, Virginia, passed peacefully at his daughter’s home in July 2022 and joined his beloved wife of 63 years, Dorothy Tenney Jones, who preceded him in death in September 2019.
He was a loving father to Nancy (and her husband, Ken Schroeder), Stephen (and his wife, Beth Niedbala), and Susan (and her husband, Steven Field), and the cherished grandfather of eight grandchildren: Matthew and Ryan Schroeder, Danielle and Gregory Jones, and Justin, Nicholas, Natalie, and Julia Field.
The second son of Genevieve Hefner and Glennville Jones, John was born at home in Buckhannon, WV on December 21, 1929. After his father passed suddenly in 1943, John worked several part-time jobs and graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in 1947. With an offer letter signed by J. Edgar Hoover outlining a six-day workweek, John joined the FBI in Washington, DC in early 1948, at age 18. Following in his older brother’s footsteps, John joined and served in the US Navy from 1951 through 1955, and then resumed working at the FBI.
While in Buckhannon on leave from the Navy, John was introduced to the love of his life, Dorothy (Dotty) Louise Tenney, whom he married in June 1956. The person who introduced them, Stephen A. Lane, would become an important part of the family when he later married John’s mother. Dotty and John named their son in honor of Stephen.
While working full-time at the FBI, John earned his bachelor and master degrees from Southeastern University in Washington, DC. Job transfers and promotions to Special Agent followed, with assignments in Buffalo and New York City, returning to DC in 1969.
In 1970, the family moved to Lakevale in Vienna, VA and quickly became one of the founding families in the building of the Church of the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church on Hunter Mill Road, where John served as Treasurer. John and Dotty bowled in a neighborhood bowling league, and hosted an annual July 4 neighborhood crab feast, as well as many celebrations at their home over the years.
John’s career focused on fingerprint identification, where he was responsible for the FBI’s latent fingerprint section. John also served as lead and member of the FBI’s Disaster Squad, involving mass fatalities of US citizens. John was instrumental in the development of the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) during the 1970s and 1980s. Following his required retirement as a Special Agent, John worked full-time as a speaker, instructor, and consultant for the next eighteen years. This groundbreaking work was featured in various technology and law enforcement venues, including an interactive exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution.
John’s passions included painting in oils, bird-watching, gardening, and enjoying the beauty of West Virginia. John had a quick wit and mind, beautiful penmanship, disciplined work ethic, and a very strong commitment to duty and service. In addition to his wife, John was preceded in death by his parents, as well as his sister-in-law and brother, Mary Lou and William Maurice Jones, and Dotty’s brother, Ronald Tenney. Left to cherish his memory are his children, their spouses, and his grandchildren; sister-in-law, Patty Tenney; nieces Cheryl Tenney Harpold, Rebecca Sue Tenney, and Deborah Jones Maddy, several cousins, and many friends.
On Saturday, September 10, 2022, there will be a gathering of family and friends from 1 to 2 p.m. at Hampton United Methodist Church on Hampton Road in Buckhannon, WV. A memorial service at the church will begin at 2 p.m., followed by graveside inurnment at the Hampton Cemetery. The Upshur County Honor Guard will accord military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory may be made to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), US Disaster Response and Recovery (umcmission.org/umcor) or to the FBI college scholarship program (socxfbi.org/SFSA/Donate/FoundationGeneralFund).