Services tonight, tomorrow for life-long Livingston public servant
LIVINGSTON – A life-long public servant who has been credited with saving an entire town during a disaster decades ago has died.
Services for former Livingston mayor Derral Jones are Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jones, 76, died Sunday.
Jones was the fire chief of the town of Livingston when, in 1982, a train derailed and exploded.
Remembering the heroic actions of his fire department, Jones discussed the situation in a 2016 interview with WBRZ.
“Here I am the fire chief, and I have no idea what to do or where to go. Fortunately, the good Lord smiled on us, and we did the right thing. We evacuated,” he recalled walking along the stretch of track.
About the time of the interview, officials were discussing the end of a 34-year remediation of the ground around the derailment site.
Jones won't only be remembered for how he handled disaster. After being fire chief, he was elected to numerous terms on the town's board of alderman. After serving on the town board, he was mayor for twenty years.
His career was iconic and well-remembered.
“Derral advised me to do what’s right, regardless of the political flack I’d get – not what is politically right, but what is right,” current Mayor David McCreary told The Livingston Parish News this week.
“That’s what I’m following,” he added.
Jones is survived by his wife, Shelia Hughes Jones, and their six children and a large contingent of grandchildren.
Visitation is Tuesday evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and again Wednesday from 10 a.m. until funeral services at 1 p.m. at Unity Prayer Center on S. Frost Road in Livingston. Interment is at Gateway Gardens Memorial Park.
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