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Jones retires after five decades of Rotary service
Herb Jones
Rotary Club of Effingham County President Toni Hardigree listens as Herb Jones shares some of his memories at The Herald Center on Thursday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

  RINCON — The look on Herb Jones’ face belied his age. He seemed more like a mischievous teen than a 92-year-old man.

“Can I pick at some people?” Jones asked after being given the floor during Thursday’s Rotary Club of Effingham County meeting at The Herald Center. “I don’t know where to start or where to stop because I could almost point fingers at all of you ...”

Jones spoke after announcing his Rotary International retirement. He served the organization for five decades, beginning his involvement in Savannah in 1972 and helping found the Rotary Club of Effingham County in 1989.

Rep. Bill Hitchens, formerly of the Georgia State Patrol, was the first to get “tweaked” by Jones. Jones recalled that Hitchens greeted him with “flashing lights” when they met initially on a Sunday morning about 40 years ago. 

“He decided to be nice and just gave me a warning,” said Jones, who was accompanied by his wife of 67 years, Kay.

Lamar Allen, who joined the local club one year after Jones, lauded his longtime colleague and former state legislator.

“The man fell in love with this county and he has been in just about everything you can name in this county,” Allen said. “He ran the (Effingham County) chamber of commerce. If it was needed, he came there to do it.

“He’s a great friend and somebody I would do anything for. That goes for Kay as well.”

Jones put together a streak of 44 years of perfect attendance at weekly Rotary meetings. He went to gatherings in Atlanta and many other places when he was unable to make the local ones.

President Toni Hardigree announced that Jones has been granted honorary membership in the local club and is welcome at its meetings anytime.

“Y’all don’t have a clue how much I am going to miss him,” Allen said before he and Jones embraced.