Jennings A. Jones came to Murfreesboro to work as an electrical engineer for the Tennessee Electric Power Company following his graduation in 1931 from UT -Knoxville. When the TVA took over this business, he was urged by his wife, the former Rebecca Ransom, to find a business they could buy or build. That first experience as an entrepreneur resulted in the Jones Locker and Cold Storage System, a locker for Rutherford County farmers. Later, he became part owner and president of what is now Southland Supply Co., Inc., a ready-to-mix concrete supplier, and was involved in numerous real estate development partnerships.
Jones later acquired farm lands adjoining his wife's family farm, making theirs one of the largest holdings in Rutherford County. He was director of Murfreesboro Bank & Trust Co., as well as its successor, for thirty years, during which time he served on the board's executive committee.
He was a founder of the former National Savings Life Insurance Company and was responsible for the home office being located in Murfreesboro.
After serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in World War II, Jones returned to civilian life. In 1946, the newly-elected City Council formed Murfreesboro's first planning commission and asked him to serve as chair. In that position, he conceived and developed a major road plan which, over the last forty years, has been built into what are now the major traffic arteries of the city. His planning for Murfreesboro became known to then Governor Gordon Browning, who appointed him to the Tennessee State Planning Commission. Later, his fellow commissioners elected him chair.
Jones served as mayor of Murfreesboro from 1950 to 1954, during which time the City Council established the Murfreesboro Housing Authority. With the Authority's "can do" attitude, they not only built low-cost housing, but within record time had cleared and turned 55 acres of slums into valuable real estate. Jones also served as director of the Tennessee Municipal League.
A few years later, he was asked to chair the newly-formed Murfreesboro Water and Sewer Commission. Other community boards on which he has served include the Chamber of Commerce, the Rutherford Hospital (including chair), and the Middle Tennessee Medical Center Development Foundation.
Jennings Jones has made several "seed money" gifts designed to make a difference in the community. A partial list of these include MTSU's Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise; Jennings and Rebecca Jones Chair of Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning; Crimestoppers of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County; the Excel Card program; computer education; the MTSU Landsat teaching and mapping program; and school mini-grants.
Mr. Jones passed away on August 19, 2005 at the age of 95.