SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The LSSU Foundation has received its second largest estate gift from the Kaleel D. and Josephine I. Jones Trust in the amount of $1 million that will support scholarships for qualifying LSSU students in the areas of engineering, nursing, teaching, and criminal justice.
Kaleel (Kal) Jones was born on July 20, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan and was married to Josephine Irene (Shutte) for nearly 68 years. Josephine passed away in April 2014, followed by Kal’s passing in June 2014.
The Jones family spans a 112-year history in Strongs, a village about 20 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on Michigan highway M-28. Kal’s grandfather was conductor on a Soo Line train that ran eleven times daily at that time. He also was the first postmaster and a sawyer at the lumber mill there. The local grade school in old downtown Strongs was named the John Williams Jones Grade School for his influence on the community. Kaleel Jones would have been named John Williams Jones VIII, but his parents chose to name him after a war hero.
This is a very generous gift and it will allow LSSU to provide access to well deserving students who wish to attend these high demand programs,” said LSSU President Tom Pleger. “This type of scholarship funding is critical to keeping public higher education affordable and accessible.”
Kal attended church in Strongs beginning at age four and gave his first piano recital at that time. He was a talented musician and also played the guitar, banjo and accordion. He met Josephine at Denby High School in Detroit. Following graduation, Kal saved his money and started A & K Cartage, a trucking company that served the Detroit area. The company’s fleet soon grew to eight trucks and maintained the longest running private contract with the city for a period of 44 years. Josephine also worked in the business. They retired as “snowbirds,” spending their winters in Fort Pierce, Fla., and returning summers to the homestead in Strongs each year.
The estate, established in 2008, stipulates that a scholarship supporting LSSU criminal justice students will be named the John Williams Jones VIII Scholarship, while engineering, nursing, and education students will benefit from the Kaleel D. and Josephine I. Jones Scholarships.
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“We are very pleased that the Joneses decided to transform the lives of our students here at LSSU with this outstanding act of generosity,” said Tom Coates, Executive Director – LSSU Foundation. “The fact that future Lakers in these four fields of study will benefit from this gift for generations to come was truly, ‘Something Big to Share.’”