Joe Anne Whitehurst Jones was married to North Carolina congressman Walter Jones for more than 50 years.
Representative Jones, a Republican from Farmville, North Carolina, was first elected to Congress in 1995. He passed away on February 10, 2019, after a long illness, on his 76th birthday. His wife Joe Anne had confirmed publicly in late January that her husband had entered hospice care but did not elaborate on his illness.
Whitehurst Jones has largely stayed out of the spotlight despite her husband’s public job. Rep. Jones did not share family photos on his social media pages.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Joe Anne & Walter Jones Were Married For 52 Years & Tied the Knot After He Graduated From College
Joe Anne Whitehurst and Walter Jones got married in 1966, the same year he earned his bachelor’s degree from Atlantic Christian College. The school has since been renamed Barton College.
According to voter registration records, it appears Joe Anne registered to vote as a Republican in 1968.
The family practiced Catholicism. According to a 2006 profile on Rep. Jones, he was inspired to convert Catholicism while attending the Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia. He told Mother Jones that he liked the ritual of the masses. One of Rep. Jones last acts as a congressman before he died was to reaffirm his commitment to pro-life causes. His office shared a list of bills that he had co-sponsored aimed at protecting the unborn.
2. Joe Anne & Walter Jones Have One Daughter, Ashley
Joe Anne Jones and her husband Walter have one daughter, Ashley Elizabeth Jones. According to her Linkedin page, she works as a financial advisor in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ashley Jones has spent some of her professional career working in government like her father. She served as Legislative Affairs Director for the North Carolina Department of Commerce from April 2013 until February 2017. From 2005 until 2007, she worked for the state’s Agricultural Department in federal relations.
3. The Jones Lived in Farmville, North Carolina, Which Was Rep. Jones’ Hometown
Joe Anne Jones and Walter Jones lived in his hometown of Farmville, North Carolina. It is a small town of less than 5,000 people in Pitt County, and is part of the Greenville Metropolitan Area.
Rep. Jones’ congressional biography stated that during his 24 years serving in the Capitol, he would drive home to Farmville “every weekend to his wife Joe Anne and his dog, Darby.”
Joe Anne and Walter Jones bought their home in 1980, according to Pitt County property records. The house was built in 1972 and has a current market value of $172,534.
4. Rep. Walter Jones’ Illness Kept Him Away From the Capitol Since the Fall of 2018 & He Broke His Hip in January 2019
Rep. Walter Jones was at home with Joe Anne for the last several months of his life. He missed votes beginning in September of 2018 as he battled illness. As stated above, his family has not disclosed details about what the congressman was suffering from.
“Congressman Jones was a man of the people. With a kind heart and the courage of his convictions, he dedicated his life to serving his Savior and to standing up for Americans who needed a voice. He was a champion for our men and women in uniform and their families, always mindful of their service and sacrifice.
Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity. He was never afraid to take a principled stand. He was known for his independence, and widely admired across the political spectrum. Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognized that he did what he thought was right.”
5. Rep. Jones Came to Oppose the Iraq War After He & Wife Joe Anne Attended a Military Funeral at Camp Lejeune in 2003
Joe Anne Jones was by her husband’s side when he reversed course on the Iraq War. Rep. Jones had voted in favor of the war, and famously called for “french fries” to be called “freedom fries.”
But his thinking about the war changed after he and Joe Anne attended a military funeral.
Marine Sergeant Michael Bitz was 31 years old when he was killed in March of 2003. His funeral took place at Camp Lejeune, which is part of Rep. Jones’ district. Sergeant Blitz had a wife and three young children. Rep. Jones said in an interview that it struck him hard knowing that those three children would never know their father. “This was a spiritual happening for me. I think at that point I fully understood the loss that a family feels.”
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