Francis J. “Pete” Jones, Sr. was born on July 29, 1928 in Wilmington, DE. On October 27, 2020 he reunited with his mother and father, Margaret and Roy; his siblings, Leroy, Marie, Margaret, Harry and Ralph; and his daughter, Peggy Ann.
Pete was born and raised in the City of Wilmington, DE. He was a graduate of Christ Our King Parochial School, P.S.DuPont High School and Goldey-Beacom Business College. After serving in the United States Army, he returned to Wilmington and worked with his brothers on the assembly line at the Chrysler plant in Newark. Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit he left Chrysler, opened Sam’s Deli on Union Street, followed by Sam’s Catering Company. The catering business evolved into Delaware’s largest family owned and locally operated party rental company, Diamond State Party Rental. Like many others of his generation, he was the embodiment of the American ideal, that anything was possible. He lived his life generously, offering everyone a chance or a leg up when needed.
Pete was active in his community. He was the local and national president of Theta Phi Fraternity; head of the umpire program at Wilmington Optimist Little League; and an active member of the Christ Our King Parish. Church and school fund raisers at COK always had his devoted attention. He donated time, energy and effort throughout his life. He was known for his annual Christmas Eve visits to his Ninth Ward neighbors always including the local convent. These trips included distribution of candy bags, his homemade pastries and appropriate refreshments.
Pete is survived by the love of his life, Mary Louise, with whom he shared 64 years of happiness and crazy times; his children, Francis “Pete” Jones, Jr. (Michelle), Mary Beth Jones, Ann Lawson and Susie Draper (Doug); his beloved grandchildren, Peter, Maggie, Delaney, Aidan, Haley and Molly brought him unbound joy and happiness.
The Jones family would like to thank Dr. Marmo and his staff and the entire staff of Seasons Hospice for making the last part of his journey manageable. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Pete’s name to either St. Mark’s High School or the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society of Delaware.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 4701 Weldin Road, Wilmington, DE 19803 on November 3, 2020 at noon. All attending will be required to wear a face mask and practice social distancing to maintain compliance with State COVID-19 Regulations. Admittance will be regulated. A private burial will follow. The family plans to celebrate Pete’s life in a manner he would have deemed appropriate when it is safe. Stay tuned for further details.
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