Virginia Sue Osment Jones, 93, was born September 13, 1928 on a farm near Macey, Arkansas, the youngest of nine children of Thomas Elmer and Mary Isabella (Mamie) Foster Osment, and died September 11, 2022, at her daughter’s home in Conway, Arkansas.
When Sue was one year old, her family moved to Jonesboro, where she grew up. Her childhood was marked by the care of a large and loving family, the experience of the Great Depression and participation with her family in the life of Fisher Street Methodist Church. In high school she served as president of the North Arkansas Conference Methodist Youth Fellowship.
Following her graduation from Jonesboro High School in 1946, a group of local church leaders who saw her potential, pooled the money for her to matriculate at Hendrix College. There she made lifelong friends, earned a degree in Speech and met her future husband. She continued her active church life in college, spending summers working on Methodist caravan teams, leading youth weeks in churches across the South. While at Hendrix, she was elected President of the Hendrix Christian Association and Program Chair of the Pre Theolog Fellowship and was elected by the denomination to serve nationally as a youth representative on the General Board of Missions of the Methodist Church.
Sue graduated from Hendrix in 1950. She spent two years as Director of Christian Education at First Methodist Church, Blytheville, before returning to Conway in a similar position at First Methodist Church, with additional responsibilities for campus ministries. On December 16, 1956 she married Frank Jones, with whom she shared 58 years of marriage and an extremely devoted life partnership. Their life together moved with his ministry in the Methodist Church, with appointments in Fayetteville, Eureka Springs and Van Buren, Arkansas and Springfield, Brookfield, Carthage and Blue Springs, Missouri. Sue continued her active church life throughout, while working diligently to re-define the ideal of a “preacher’s wife” for a more modern age.
While their three children were young, Sue devoted her days fully to her family. She is remembered by her children for, among other things, the meals she prepared that remain family favorites to this day, caring for, supporting and encouraging them in every way and her efforts large and small to bring joy to their lives. Through it all, she gave her children a solid example of the importance of committed relationships and caring for the bonds of family.
In her early 40s, Sue returned to school to study speech pathology. For two years, she drove 140 miles a day to complete her graduate degree. She worked as a speech pathologist for more than 25 years in Missouri public schools, private practice and supervising student clinicians at the University of Central Arkansas.
In 1993, Sue and Frank “retired” and returned to Conway, where they took great joy in renewing relationships with friends from their college years, became active in First United Methodist Church (where both had served on staff in the 1950s), enjoyed the freedom to travel and spend more time with family and otherwise flourished in a new chapter of life. Following Frank’s death in 2015, Sue kept a full and active life with family, friends and her church. She loved being a part of the Soul Sisters, United Methodist Women and the Nell Dyer Circle, P.E.O., the 20th Century Club and the Retired Preacher’s Wives.
Sue is remembered as a person who shared her love generously with her family and friends, who consistently practiced the disciplines of her faith, who had strong though generally quiet political convictions (she was a proud member of the Hillary fan club), who found pleasure bringing people together and preparing food for her guests, who enjoyed maintaining beautiful flower beds and decorating her home for each holiday season and who had a special fondness for Hendrix College. Sue and Frank were proud to establish an endowed scholarship at Hendrix and that their three children all graduated from Hendrix College and met their spouses there. Sue welcomed and loved each of her children’s spouses as one of her own.
Sue was preceded in death by her parents; her eight siblings and her husband, Frank. She is survived by her children, Rock (Melissa Lollar) of Delaware, Ohio; Brick (Dana Corn) of Austin, Texas and Pebble (David) Sutherland of Conway, Arkansas; eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Her family remembers her for her love and devotion, for her resilience and stoicism, for her remarkable ability to adapt with the times, for looking her best every single day and for her unwavering commitment to embrace and value each member of her family.
Sue’s family is grateful for all who have provided care and support, with special gratitude to caregiver Charlene Benton and Stephen Minister and dear friend, Sue Higgs and to her many friends, including those who have preceded her in death.
A celebration of Sue’s life will be held Saturday, October 15, at 10:00 am at First United Methodist Church, Conway. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to First United Methodist Church or to the Frank and Sue Osment Jones scholarship fund at Hendrix College.