From Jay Moore: Abilene’s Greatest Christmas Gift
Jay Moore’s newest book, “Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home,” contains one or more
vignettes from Abilene’s history for each day of the year. Periodically, stories with some connection–however loose–to Abilene’s religious life will be featured in Spirit of Abilene. The book can be purchased at Texas Star Trading Co., 174 Cypress St. www.texasstartrading.com or call 325-672-9696. Books are $27.50.
Following is an excerpt from Jay Moore’s book, Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home, dated December 25, 1954.
Abilene’s Greatest Christmas Gift
Lifelong Abilenian Ruth Legett Jones, joined by her two daughters, Judy Matthews and Edith O’Donnell, met on Christmas morning 1954 at the Fort Worth Club in downtown Fort Worth. The occasion was not for exchanging gifts, rather to bestow a gift, an unbelievable gift to the people of Abilene, a gift whose impact is still felt. At the Christmas meeting, the widow and daughters of Percy Jones established a charitable foundation, opting to name it in memory of Dodge Jones, son and brother who had died in 1946 at the age of 22. Mrs. Jones acted as chairwoman at the Christmas meeting, calling it to order at 10 a.m. Ruth Jones was pleased that the foundation was established on the anniversary of her Christmas day marriage to Percy Jones back in 1915.
Under the direction of Ruth Jones and later Judy Matthews, the Dodge Jones Foundation would give away millions of dollars over the next 64 years, transforming Abilene and improving the lives of Abilenians.
Ruth Jones died in 1978. Judy Matthews passed away in 2016 and Edith in 2020. The Dodge Jones Foundation closed on December 31, 2018.