Ida Tarver Jones on Monday was remembered as a dedicated community volunteer, friend and traveler with an angelic singing voice who never said an unkind word about anyone.
“She was one of the sweetest people I have ever known,” said longtime friend Margaret Ross.
Jones died Saturday at Hospice LaGrange.
Dee Bradley met Jones while working with the United Methodist Women. The two quickly became traveling buddies, going to UMW-sponsored events, Optimist Club events (Jones also was a member of the LaGrange Optimist Club) and sometimes traveling just for fun.
A relative dubbed them “Thelma and Louise.” They would stuff the bags in the back of Bradley’s Mini Cooper and ride, one trip took them up and down the East Coast. The two went to Gulf Shores, Ala., as late as October.
“She was up for anything new and different,” Bradley said. She rode a camel in Jerusalem, crossed a rope bridge in Northern Ireland and rode in a hot air balloon in Albequerque, N.M.
Jones’ own daughter, Tracy, called her mother “The traveling One,” and said after her death that her mother was on “the trip of her life.”
Ross also met Jones through traveling when Jones was named a delegate to LaGrange’s sister cities, going to Japan, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Georgia.
Ross said when the group went on its first trip to Georgia, Jones remarked that the city should have had a ticker tape parade for the group as it left town. When the group got to Georgia, there was a literal parade waiting for them, with drums, flowers, food and dancing.
“She got her parade,” Ross said.
In retirement, Jones also was a member of the Red Hat Society with Ross and Bradley.
“She loved being a ‘Sho-nuff Dahling,’” Ross said, the name for the society’s local chapter they attended.
For the last 10 years, Ross, Jones and several other ladies would have Christmas communion and tea at Ross’ house on Christmas Eve. Last month, Jones was not up to making the trip, so Ross brought communion to her. Ross had planned to stay an hour; she stayed four.
“You could feel the presence of the Lord in that room,” Ross said.
Jones retired as a middle grades teacher with Troup County Schools in 1989 and was active in the Retired Teachers Association. She also was in the LaGrange International Friendship Exchange, LaGrange Optimist Club, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and World Methodist Conference.
She also was a longtime volunteer with the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, being named “Ambassador of the Year” many times over.
“I love living in LaGrange,” Jones told the Daily News in July 2011. “To be the size it is, it has so much to offer. It’s a college town with so many cultural activities. I enjoy all of it.”