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Final Tow; drivers pay tribute to Gene Jones

August 15, 2014

More than 40 wreckers trail behind a motorcade carrying Gene Jones' casket as it approaches Raymar Road in Bryant on Thursday. The Central Arkansas towing companies helped pay tribute to Jones, who owned Gene Jones Wrecker Service in Saline County. Jones' own wreckers led the way to Pinecrest Memorial Park.

The family of Gene jones was "blown away" by a Thursday tribute to the longtime wrecker service owner and operator, according to his son, Robert Jones.

Owners and drivers for more than 40 wrecker services from Benton, Hot Springs, Malvern, Little Rock, Sheridan and surrounding areas led the funeral procession from Ashby Funeral Home to Pinecrest Memorial Park.

The wrecker drivers remained at the cemetery for the graveside service that preceded Mr. Jones' burial.

The special recognition was organized by Clint Newcomb of Newcomb Towing.

Robert Jones, who now oversees the business started by his father in the late 1950s, called the acknowledgment "really an honor."

"The family is just ecstatic how this turned out," he said. "We're really proud."

Mr. Jones, who died last week, was considered an institution in Benton, a fact noted by Newcomb and others as plans were being made for Thursday's event.

Robert Jones pointed out that his father's passing marks the "end of an era of the old hands that were part of the towing business around here."

"Robert Gillis is gone, Dub Sharp is gone and Robert Handley is gone. They were the old hands of the salvage yards and towing companies.

"Everybody knew those guys well," Jones said. "They were all my dad's friends. A copy of Robert Gillis' obituary hangs here in my office and his son works for me now.

"Those guys saw a lot of changes around this town," he added.

"My dad started back in the late 1950s helping people when they got in trouble," he said.

"People appreciated what they did for them."

Clint Newcomb extended the invitation to participate in the tribute to "anyone who ever worked for Gene Jones" and others in the towing business.

"He was a good man," Newcomb said of Gene Jones.

Robert Jones expressed appreciation for the tribute. "My dad touched a lot of lives. This was totally unexpected, but really appreciated. We appreciate everything that's been done."

 

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