PARADE GRAND MARSHAL
George Jones was born in 1944 to Dorothy B. Jones in Newport Rhode Island. He was raised in Tonomy Hill and attended Newport public schools. He attended Mumford school back in the day were there were so many kids that the school had to have double sessions to accommodate everyone. In 1962 George graduated from Rogers High school.
In 1964 George enlisted in the Rhode Island National Guard and was assigned to the National Guard armory on Thames Street. He served for six years starting out as a combat engineer and ending his stint in the military police.
In 1966 George started his career as a firefighter with the Newport Fire Department. He fought many of the big fires of the era and, throughout his career, saw much needed changes in the fire codes as well as in the equipment that firefighters use in their profession. He retired from the Newport Fire Department after a distinguished twenty-six year career. He was President of the local 1080 Firefighters Association from 1979 to 1981. The camaraderie that was forged with other members of the department still lasts to this day. The friendships he made over the years as a firefighter made it a more enjoyable career. Many memorable ski trips were taken with other firefighters during those years in their off time. He also spent time sailing which was another passion of his. He sailed throughout the Caribbean with friends.
In 1976 he married Regina Regan. She was a 1974 Salve Regina College graduate from Beth Page, Long Island. George likes to say that it only took marrying an Irish girl to finally buy a house, settle down, and be accepted in the Fifth Ward. They have three daughters; Kristine, Megan, Katie and two grandchildren; Aliyah and Julian.
In 1979 George along with four other friends purchased a bar restaurant on the corner of Thames Street and Waite’s Wharf. After renovating it, they opened it up as O’Brien’s Pub. Two of the friends sold their shares to the remaining partners and today he is partnered with the remaining two; Greg Fater and Tommy Regan. Together the three partners have grown and expanded the pub making it one of the most popular restaurant bars in Newport and one of the prime spots to watch the Newport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. They have been very generous in supporting a number of local civic groups, and in supporting various local fundraising efforts. Over the years on Parade Day they have extended their hospitality by letting parade viewer’s use their porta-johns. They have always been great supporters of the parade.
George has celebrated his Irish Heritage by traveling back to the Emerald Isle a number of times. He is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, having joined the AOH when his friend, current Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop, was the President of the organization. He was honored to be chosen as this years Grand Marshal. He is truly a deserving individual having done so much behind the scenes, which has not gone unnoticed. When he does have spare time, George can frequently be found working on his golf game at Wanumetonomy Golf Club where he is a member.
About This Year’s Button:
Our yearly button designs try to incorporate the vocation or interests of our Grand Marshal for that year. For the 2013 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade our Grand Marshal is George Jones. This year’s button uses two important emblems of George’s life; the fire helmet and the moustache. The fire helmet represents the 26 faithful years of service that George was employed as a firefighter for the City of Newport. The stylized moustache is the logo of O’Brien’s Pub, a business he and some friends have been involved in for 34 years. The shamrock and Irish tricolors represents George’s Irish heritage.
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