Anita Scott Jones, a beloved champion of Middletown, dies at 58

Anita Scott Jones has been involved with the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk for years. She has since had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator device placed inside her to help with her heart problems. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Anita Scott Jones has been involved with the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk for years. She has since had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator device placed inside her to help with her heart problems. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Anita Scott Jones wasn’t born in Middletown, but she made the city a better place, those who knew her said.

Scott Jones, who championed the city of Middletown as a council member and vice mayor and was passionate about her Christian faith, died on Sunday. She was 58.

“This is a huge loss,” said the Rev. Lamar Ferrell, pastor at Berachah Church, where Scott Jones and her husband, Lyndon Jones, worshiped. “When she got transplanted here from Alabama, Middletown gained an incredible ambassador of hope.”

Anita Scott Jones presented a check from Atrium Medical Center to two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo Kayla Harrison for her Fearless Foundation during a pre-game ceremony before the Middies game Friday, Sept. 9 in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Anita Scott Jones presented a check from Atrium Medical Center to two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo Kayla Harrison for her Fearless Foundation during a pre-game ceremony before the Middies game Friday, Sept. 9 in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Scott Jones moved to Middletown in 2000. Several years after moving to the city, she ran for City Council. When she won in 2007, she was the first directly elected Black woman to serve on City Council, and she served as vice mayor in 2009 and 2010.

Scott Jones was re-elected in 2011 but lost a third bid for council in 2015.

Because of her community work, she was awarded the Robert “Sonny” Hill Humanitarian Award in 2019.

Scott Jones had served hundreds of citizens over the years, according to the city of Middletown, and was active with several organizations, including the Butler County Regional Transit Authority, the Warren County Municipal League, and the Middletown Area United Way.

“She has shown enthusiasm and generosity in all of her endeavors and has given freely of her time and talent beyond what was required or expected,” the city said in a statement. “Anita has earned the respect and admiration of all those with whom she has worked. Anita Scott Jones’ legacy of service will stand as a hallmark for others to emulate.”

Anita Scott Jones with Atrium Medical Center speaks Friday, Aug. 4, during the announcement of the new CenteringPregnancy program at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. The program is a new effort in the community to help lower infant mortality rates. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Anita Scott Jones with Atrium Medical Center speaks Friday, Aug. 4, during the announcement of the new CenteringPregnancy program at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. The program is a new effort in the community to help lower infant mortality rates. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

“She was brilliant, she was beautiful, she was a lady who impacted the lives of people,” Ferrell said. “She lived with love in her heart.”

Former Middletown mayor Larry Mulligan served alongside Scott Jones.

“She was purposeful in her approach and dedicated to many causes, quick with a hug and a warm welcome,” he said. “She will be missed by many. Middletown is better thanks to her service and commitment.”

Former state lawmaker Tim Derickson, who represented the 53rd Ohio House District from 2009 to mid-2016, said Scott Jones was one of the few people who helped him acclimate to Middletown.

“I counted on Anita to help me in what was a new community for me to represent in Columbus,” said Derickson, who now works for JobsOhio. “That developed into a sincere friendship that I just treasured.”

Derickson said she made a difference in Middletown, and “her commitment to that city is bar none a commitment you just don’t see in any community.”

“She truly was a servant leader,” he said. “She was willing to do the work to get stuff done.”

The U.S. House Minority Leader talks with Middletown Vice Mayor Anita Scott Jones Monday, March 1, after a Chamber of Commerce event.
The U.S. House Minority Leader talks with Middletown Vice Mayor Anita Scott Jones Monday, March 1, after a Chamber of Commerce event.

Scott Jones was working for Primary Health Solutions at the time of her death, but she previously worked as director of hospital relations at Atrium Medical Center.

“Anita was a passionate believer in just causes, strong integrity, and high character. She brought that commitment to her efforts with the Atrium Medical Center Foundation,” said Mike Stautberg, president, Atrium Medical Center Foundation.

Dr. Keith Bricking, president of Atrium Medical Center, said Scott Jones’ “dedication and spirit will continue to inspire us.”

Scott Jones’ cause of death has not been publicly released, but in 2018 she suffered a series of heart attacks within six months. She told Journal-News reporter Rick McCrabb in September 2018 she was going to live her life.

“I don’t know how much more time I have on this earth,” she said. “What I am going to do with my dash every single day is what I did from the beginning. But now with more clarity.”

Ferrell said according to the family, Scott Jones did not wish for a memorial service.

Anita Scott Jones speaks to students and guests about her life experiences growing up in Alabama during a Black History Month tribute Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 in the auditorium at Middletown High School.
Anita Scott Jones speaks to students and guests about her life experiences growing up in Alabama during a Black History Month tribute Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 in the auditorium at Middletown High School.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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