Gainesville Commissioners honor legacy of late Pastor Samuel Jones, Jr.

Press release from the City of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The street where Pastor Samuel Jones, Jr. established and led his iconic local church will now be named in his honor. Gainesville City Commissioners passed a resolution on April 6 to turn NE 19th Street into Pastor Samuel Jones, Jr. Blvd. The honorary street name is a memorial designation that etches the legacy of the late leader onto the map of the community he helped shape.

Known for his dedication to the Gainesville community, Pastor Jones was a lifelong resident of the city. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1962 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University. After returning to Gainesville, Pastor Jones and his wife, Margaret Ann, established Open Door Ministries in 1976. The church sprang from a Bible study group they began in their home. The congregation grew quickly and by 1978 had constructed a sanctuary on NE 19th Street, where Open Door is still located today. 

Street signage will be erected by the City’s Public Works Department. Although the cost is small – roughly $300 for materials, equipment, and labor – the significance is great.

As a community leader, Pastor Jones spent much of his time counseling families in need of guidance or support. In a 2022 Gainesville Sun article about his life, he was described by his wife of more than 50 years as a man with a “serving heart.” Margaret Ann Jones spoke of her husband’s dedication to helping families stay together. One of his most valued missions was providing marriage counseling and therapy for those who were struggling through relationship turbulence. He was never more joyful, his wife said, than when working to help marriages succeed.

Pastor Jones also made a difference by volunteering his time with local organizations aimed at meeting the needs of families and children. His work with the ACTION Network, a group of churches that banded together to lobby state government on behalf of local communities, has led to important funding for afterschool and recreation programs in east Gainesville neighborhoods.

Now, with the newly renamed Pastor Samuel Jones, Jr. Blvd., this legacy of compassion and leadership is publicly recognized as a permanent part of Gainesville’s history. 

  • This is what’s “dying” in America.
    Hopefully city leadership won’t sell out to the next highest bidder.

  • We need more like Pastor Jones in this city, in this country, in this world.

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