Former Greeneville Sun co-owner, columnist Arne Jones dies at 101

Martha Arnold Susong (Arne) Jones
Martha Arnold Susong (Arne) Jones

Martha Arnold Susong (Arne) Jones—a co-owner of The Greeneville (Tenn.) Sun who wrote a popular column for the paper for more than three decades until retiring it at age 92—died Dec. 16 at age 101.

The Sun reported in an unbylined story that she was “unexpectedly struck with several health problems” the day before she died in the intensive-care unit of a Greeneville hospital.

At her bedside were her five children, the paper reported: John M. Jones Jr.; Alex S. Jones, the former director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard; Gregg K. Jones, president and CEO of Jones Media Inc.; Edith Jones Floyd, and Sally Jones Harbison.

Arne Jones was preceded in death last July by her husband and longtime Sun publisher John M. Jones. In September, the assets of the Sun and other newspaper, media and marketing assets of Jones Media were sold to a unit of Adams Publishing Group.

Arne Jones was an active member of the board of directors of Jones Media for three decades.

But as The Sun obituary noted, she may have been best known as the (uncredited) writer of the very popular Saturday “cheerful chatter” column. Arne Jones wrote that column—an “an upbeat, community-oriented potpourri,” in the words of the newspaper—weekly from June of 1974 through June of 1999 and then monthly from July 1999 through until she stopped contributing to it at age 92 in late June 2007.

“Modest about her own view of her ‘qualifications’ to help lead Jones Media, Inc. (JMI),” a tribute in The Sun said, “she spoke relatively seldom at the board meetings—but other directors learned to listen with respect when she did express an opinion.

“In sum, when she wanted to be, she was genuinely a player at The Greeneville Sun and in the leadership of JMI. Her voice and perspective were valuable here, and will be missed.”