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Poultry, community leader Ray Jones remembered as visionary
Ray Jones

Ray Jones, a leader in the poultry industry, died Tuesday at age 88.

Doug Magnus, president of Conditioned Air Systems, said Jones and the late Loyd Strickland were a dynamic pair both at Crystal Farms and in the community. Magnus credited the pair with helping get Interstate 985, Gainesville State College and Lanier Technical College built.

“Hall County would not be where it is today without people like Ray Jones,” Magnus said.

Magnus said Jones was a great encourager for people like Magnus to branch out and start their own business.

Steve Blair, a longtime educator at Gainesville State College and the University of North Georgia and a former Hall County school board member, remembered Jones as someone who was all in for anything that would help the community.

“I don’t think he cared about who got the credit,” Blair said. “If something was going on in South Hall, he had something to do with it.”

Jones served at various times as president of Crystal Farms Inc. and Crystal Farms Mills Inc., president of J&S Farms, director of the Georgia Egg Association, director of the American Egg Board and secretary and director of the National Egg Company, according to his obituary.

He also served for nearly 40 years on the Jackson EMC board of directors, plus a variety of other boards.

The Rev. John Batusic, Jones’ pastor at Chestnut Mountain Presbyterian church, said Jones served on so many boards because people valued his wisdom.

“He was steady,” Batusic said.

Batusic also appreciated Jones’ humor and kindness, particularly in his advice for how to give a reference for someone about whom the pastor didn’t have something positive to offer. Jones suggested a simple question: “Do you have another candidate?”

Jones’ funeral is at 2 p.m. Friday in the Memorial Park Funeral Home chapel with Batusic and the Rev. Kennedy Smartt officiating.

Batusic said Jones was one of those who had the vision of what became Chestnut Mountain Presbyterian’s current building.

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