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Vincent Jones

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 11:26

Vincent Jones of Springs, a founding paraprofessional at the Forsyth Street campus of Satellite Academy High School, one of the first small, alternative public high schools in New York City, died of cancer at Southampton Hospital on Dec. 31. He was 62 and had been ill for a year and a half.

Satellite Academy provides at-risk students who have opted out of traditional high schools an opportunity to complete their education in a smaller, student-centered learning community. 

"We both did it together," Mr. Jones's wife, Elizabeth Andersen, said of their work to establish the school's Forsyth Street campus in 1980. "That's when I was his future wife."

Mr. Jones was born on Feb. 17, 1951, in New York City to Herbert Jones and the former Mary Bradley. He grew up in the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in North America, in the borough of Queens. He attended P.S. 1 in Long Island City, and later spent 11 years in New York's National Guard.

He was passionate about the arts and worked at the Public Theater in New York, founded by Joseph Papp. Among other roles, he built sets for the renowned nonprofit theater. The experience, his wife said, "introduced him to a whole new world. It changed his life dramatically."

Mr. Jones's life came full circle, his wife remembered, when he returned to P.S. 1, by then an exhibition space of the Museum of Modern Art, as an educator from Satellite Academy. "That made him really proud," Ms. Andersen said. "He went from being a little kid in a little school to being an educator."

Mr. Jones and Ms. Andersen were married on June 21, 2002. They had lived together for many years in Manhattan, Ms. Andersen said, and Mr. Jones became a year-round resident of Springs about seven years ago. "I retired before he did," she said. He was a consummate cook, she said, able to prepare "anything he could think of."

In addition to his wife, Mr. Jones is survived by two brothers, David Jones of Queens and Fred Jones of Brooklyn. Another brother, Herbert, died before him.

His family has suggested memorial contributions to the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, P.O. Box 2144, Amagansett 11930, or ehtps.org.

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