In Memory

Jay Allen Jones

Jay Jones died in 1989, an early victim of the AIDS crisis. Diagnosed in 1985, he lived for four more years,

an almost unheard of post-diagnosis life span prior to the advent of more effective drug regimens in the

early 1990’s. At the time of his diagnosis, Jay was working on a Ph.D. in philosophy at Rice University—a

very appropriate pursuit given his talents as a debater and his interest in philosophical thought and

discussion. If anything good can be said to have developed from his illness and death, it is that his

struggle with the disease also resulted in improved end-of-life care for other AIDS patients. While at

Rice, Jay worked part time as a researcher for Dr. Earl Shelp, a Baptist minister and medical ethicist at

the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The two became good friends, and while supporting Jay during his

illness, Dr. Shelp found himself appalled by the plight of AIDS patients in general—particularly the

squalor and neglect that often marked their final living and dying conditions. As a result, he became one

of the first advocates for compassionate care for AIDS victims, and he founded Interfaith Care Partners,

a non-profit organization devoted to providing AIDS patients with adequate living assistance and

medical treatment. Thanks in large part to Dr. Shelp’s support, as well as that of the new organization,

Jay received the best medical and social services available at the time. Those of us who knew Jay will

probably remember his intelligence, his skill in argumentation, his sense of humor, and his sense of fun.

Had he lived longer, I am certain that he could have been an inspirational professor and a significant

vcontributor to the study of philosophy. As a fellow debater, I have many warm memories of the fun

times the speech team had at tournaments all over the state. Jay certainly played a big part in those

experiences, and I am saddened not to be able to see him again. A link to a Texas Monthly article about

Earl Shelp and Jay is listed below.,+t




Thanks to Haise Johnson Currie for this information

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05/26/14 07:36 AM #1    

Vicki Atkinson (Pinkney)

I was thinking of Jay only yesterday. Thinking of his vivacity.  Thanks to Haise for sharing this with us.

On a lighter side. Jay Jones lives on in South Africa. Rather hilarious. My son David call our very lively, hugely intellegent and much loved dog Jay Jones. I asked him where he got the name..... he said it was random. I told him about a guy from high school in Amarillo called Jay Jones...... JJ, as he is now known, is an integral part of our family.

His name will have and even more special meaning for me now. I will think of the one and only unique guy, Jay Jones. He is at peace.

Lots of Love rest well. Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson

05/26/14 04:48 PM #2    

Jana Farwell (Wolfshohl)

Thank you Haise for sharing this information. I didn't know Jay well but I understand now that he was a courageous man who lived a life of purpose.

05/27/14 08:21 AM #3    

Pamela House

I have often  thought and wondered about Jay.  I admired him greatly in high school.  His failure to be named a "Top Ten" marked a point in my life when I lost faith in the inherent fairness of institutions.  It seems silly now, because his life was marked with much more meaning than a high school award could ever represent.

Thank you so much, Haise, for letting us know about his life and death.

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