Family business entering fourth generation

By Purity Kimaiyo
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

Empathy and goodwill are the important qualities that enable the Jones family to succeed in their business. For with every customer, comes death and grief.

Michael G. Jones, Nelly Taylor Jones, and their daughter, Nina Jones.( Photo provided by the family)

Ellis D. Jones, Sr. founded Ellis D. Jones & Sons Funeral Directors in 1935. The business has stayed in the family and at its 419 Dowd St. location in Northeast Central Durham ever since. In 1991, Michael G. Jones and his wife, Nelly Taylor Jones took over the business from Ellis D. Jones, Jr.

Their daughter, Nina Jones, a recent graduate of Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, has entered the family business, making her the fourth generation to carry on a family tradition.

“I had just graduated with a psychology degree from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill,” said Jones. “Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service seemed like a good idea to venture in, especially since my parents couldn’t afford graduate school immediately.”

The family manages to maintain a good working relationship by respecting each member’s opinion, making them even closer.

“I think this is what God intended me to do. I have a soft spot for families who lose loved ones, and we try as much as we can to ensure they have smooth funeral arrangements when they come to us,” said Nina Jones.

The family business maintains a close relationship with the community by offering a grief education workshop which includes counseling for community and civic groups.

They also organize an annual Candlelight Remembrance Program in December, where they remember families who lost their loved ones.

“The Joneses are a pillar in the community,” said Melva Henry, NECD Community Relations Coordinator. “They are known for their generosity and willingness to assist residents in numerous ways during their deepest time of need.  Their commitment to the community is far reaching.”

Ellis D. Jones& Sons Funeral Directors have also worked closely with Parents of Murdered Children as part of giving back to the community.

The family strives to always live up to their motto: Anyone can do the ordinary. It’s how we do the extraordinary that is the true measure of our service.

For more information visit or call 919-688-1323