Former Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller recalled how late Councilwoman Mary Jones used political pull to get a roundabout funded at Mitchell Street and Lights Ferry Road.
"I'll call Nathan," she once said.
Nathan, as in former Gov. Nathan Deal.
And later in a ceremony accepting grant money for the project at the state Capitol, Deal beelined his way through a crowd to give Jones a hug.
"For me, it was the eye-opening moment of 'Wow, she's a pretty cool lady,' " Miller said.
That memory served as a tribute not just to Jones, who died in 2019, but to her family, as the Dean Jones Family Park was dedicated in their honor Thursday, May 5.
The park sits off the roundabout, with Lights Ferry Road serving as a busy connector between McEver Road and downtown. It's a small area with a pergola, benches, sidewalks and landscaping.
"When we talked about doing the roundabout and having the park here, it was a no-brainer … to name it after the Jones family, for everything they've done for this community," Miller said.
He said Mary Jones didn't want her name on the park's sign, but rather the name of her late husband.
The Jones family goes back five generations, with Mary and Dean Jones' daughter Ann remembering them both fondly at the dedication.
She recalled how the creation of Lake Lanier in the 1950s "took half the family farm."
"But Dean Jones managed to farm on 60 acres, and he instilled in me the love for livestock and agriculture," Ann Jones said.
Speaking after the event, she said she likes what has become of the park and that it is something of a retreat from the bustling South Hall town.
"Everybody talks about green space," she said. "It's right here. Drive by and look at it."