A tearful congregation mourned two retired Richmond County educators and their son Wednesday night, as the church pastors called for hope, strength and comfort in a time of grief and uncertainty.
More than 100 people filled Augusta Deliverance Evangelistic Church on Roosevelt Drive off Olive Road praying for Roosevelt and Edna Jones and their son, Russell.
“It’s been a sad day. But glory to Jesus because we know that Roosevelt and Edna are with the Lord,” said Senior Pastor Roy Myles.
The vigil was held a day after Richmond County sheriff’s investigators found the charred remains of two men and one woman after firefighters responded to a brush fire in a wooded area. The investigation led police to a second crime scene Tuesday – the Jones’ home on Pinnacle Place Drive.
Investigators have not confirmed the identities of the deceased, but The (Macon) Telegraph reported that the couple’s son, Steve, was mourning the loss of his parents and younger brother.
Roosevelt and Edna Jones were active members of the church for 40 years, having joined when both began school at Paine College, Myles said. Their sons grew up attending the church.
“It’s sad the way they left here. We don’t know how we’ll leave here,” he said. “The main thing is that you know Jesus. We have hope in the resurrection.”
Roosevelt Jones was a deacon, board member and the financial secretary; and Edna served on the church hospitality committee and volunteered at the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, Myles said.
Myles called Russell Jones a “well-mannered” person.
Earlier Wednesday, Westside High School Principal Debbie Alexander remembered Roosevelt Jones as a father figure to students who was dedicated to his family.
“A finer man you could not find,” Alexander said.
A.R. Johnson Magnet School Principal Lamonica Lewis said Jones was a passionate and caring teacher and mentor.
“He was a great teacher and a great person,” Lewis said.
Alexander and Lewis worked with Jones at Tutt Middle School, where he taught from 1981 to 2008. He also taught at Paine College.
Edna Jones worked for the Richmond County School System from 1980 to 2009 as an elementary school teacher. Most of her career was spent at Jamestown Elementary from 1993 to 2009.
Staff Writers Bianca Cain Johnson and Tracey McManus contributed to this article.