Hope Jones, center, administrative secretary at the Union County Coroner’s Office, is retiring after 58 years with the county. A reception is planned for April 30 at 2 p.m. in the commissioners’ office at 233 W. Sixth St. Also pictured are Coroner’s Office investigators Jim Fish, left, and Lance Emberling, right.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Michael Williamson)
If you want to know something about Hope Jones, you might have to ask one of her friends or coworkers.
However, if you want to know how to spell a medical term or what it might feel like to walk the Scottish countryside, she’s the one to go to. In fact, “the one to go to” might be the best way to describe her.
On Apr. 30, the county is holding a retirement party for Jones, the administrative secretary at the Union County Coroner’s office. She is retiring after 58 years with the county and a long life in service to her community.
A 1958 graduate of Marysville High School, Jones moved to Marysville from Milford Center with her family when she was a teenager.
“My first job, and I was still in high school, was selling tickets at the movie theater in town,” said Jones, now 78. “Then I was working in a department store when an acquaintance of mine came in and said I might want to go down to Dr. (Malcom) MacIvor’s office. She said they were hiring. And I got the job right away.”
Jones worked for Dr. MacIvor, who served as Union County Coroner until his retirement in 2000. Dr. MacIvor passed away in 2002.
“He was such a wonderful man,” Jones said. “ When you’re a coroner, you’re a practicing physician but when you get the call, from the Sheriff’s Department or wherever, you have to go. And I know the patients, most of them would wait on him.”
Since Jones took the job, the coroner’s office has moved locations, at one time being in the Sheriff’s Office until settling at its current location in 2008: 128 South Main Street—across the street from the site of the movie theater.
She stayed with the Coroner’s Office after his retirement when current coroner, Dr. David Applegate took over the job. She said there have been many changes over the years, but her job has always been the same.
“What we do hasn’t changed, but I started with doctors dictating reports and information to me. So just technology has made some things different,” she said.
Over the years, Jones has been very active with her community, both as a member of the First Baptist Church and as secretary of the Union County Historical Society—a position from which she is also stepping away after 22 years. She also loves tennis and the British Royal Family. Although she has spent her life as a dedicated resident and employee of Union County, her heart may belong to Scotland.
“I think I’ve been there four times,” she said. “I just love it. Every place that I’ve gone to.” She said she’s traced her family name, McKenzie, back to Scotland and has visited her family castle known as Eilean Donan Castle in the west of Scotland.
“It just takes your breath away,” she said.
By all accounts, Jones is the lifeblood of the coroner’s office.
“She does everything. She would do phone calls, send out subpoenas, do the faxing. She would talk to families over the phone. She did billing, payroll, dictations, everything,” said Lance Emberling, the lead investigator at the Coroner’s Office. “It doesn’t matter what you need, Hope has been there.”
“Me and Lance both came in this office with absolutely zero knowledge as far as what actually happens,” said Jim Fish, an investigator with the Coroner’s Office. “She was the one that we would go to with all of our questions.”
Jones said she would miss everyone at the office and the people she’s worked with over the years.
“I think I just want to rest now,” Jones said. “But I don’t want to get bored.”
Jones’ retirement party is April 30 from 2-4 p.m. in the Commissioners meeting room at 233 W. Sixth St.
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