Teammates, friends remember 'Beaner' Jones

April 26, 1997


Staff Writer

WILLIAMSPORT - Two long, white limousines pulled into the Pinesburg softball complex Saturday afternoon, carrying members of a softball team and a banner honoring their fallen teammate: "In memory of Beaner Jones."

The display was part of a memorial service for Ronald L. "Beaner" Jones Jr., 34, a City Light employee who died March 6 after falling 40 feet from a bucket truck.

Team members presented his fiancee, Kimberly Ridenour, with a championship softball jacket he won last year and a disc jockey played "The Boys are Back in Town," and one of Jones' favorite songs, Mariah Carey's "Hero."


"I think it moved just about everyone in the park," said Pinesburg Softball League President Dick Montgomery, one of about 300 people there.

Ridenour rode in one of the limos along with the softball players. She said Jones had suggested last year that the team roll into the park with a flourish after renovations were complete. But she said her fiancee told her she would not be allowed in the limo.

"He told me I was going to have to find another way up there," Ridenour said. "`You watch me,' I told him. `I'll sit in the front seat with the driver.'"

Jones' friends and family described a man who was a fierce competitor on the field and a well-liked jokester off it.

"He was great at everything he did," said Reggie Jackson, his softball manager. "And if he wasn't great at something, he made himself great."

Jackson said his teammates and opponents alike left the field with a great feeling of respect.

"He never had an enemy," he said. "If somebody didn't like him, they never knew him."

Ridenour, who began dating Jones about nine years ago, said they had not set a wedding date. She said she expected Jones to surprise her, as he often did. On Saturday, she said she was surprised by much of the memorial - just like Jones would have wanted it.

"I was surprised that I got the jacket," she said. "I was surprised about everything."

Jones' love of sports developed as a young boy, said his mother, Ruth Jones.

That was about the same time he picked up his nickname. Jones said her son, as a 6- or 7-year-old boy loved to eat baked beans. His uncle gave him the name.

"Beaner would be eating baked beans when he came down, and he named him `Beaner,'" she said.

The name stuck.

"Nobody really knew him by his given name," said his sister, Kathy Andrews.

Andrews said her brother was a "very jolly and funny guy" who loved to play pranks on her children. That, too, was a trait born in childhood. Andrews said Jones teased his brother and four sisters.

Andrews said he also did the same thing to his fiancee.

"He would love to tease Kim and look at us and laugh," she said.

Ridenour said Jones loved softball so much that he often showed up even when his team was not playing. He filled in to play for other teams that were short of players, she added.

"We came here many times for pickup games, waiting to be picked up," she said. "I knew where to find him."

When he was not on the softball diamond, friends and family said Jones could be found playing basketball, golf, flag football or bowling.

"He excelled at every one of them," said Montgomery, the softball league president. "And he was great umpire also."

Ruth Jones said she will always remember how her son lived life - 100 percent full steam.

"He always put his heart into everything that he did," she said.

As a result of the accident, City Light lineworkers workers were ordered to wear full-body harnesses while on the job.

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