Originally created 11/13/97

Bob Jones Jr., university chairman, dead at 86

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Bob Jones Jr., chancellor and chairman of the fundamentalist Christian Bob Jones University, died Wednesday, less than two months after he was diagnosed with abdominal cancer. He was 86.

Mr. Jones died at his home, a school spokeswoman said.

Mr. Jones preached at the university's daily chapel service and spoke at Bible conferences and evangelistic meetings around the world. He won the school a nationwide reputation among fundamentalist Christian churches as a college where the unerring word of the Bible is the guiding document.

For example, in 1987, Mr. Jones said he would "as soon speak to the devil himself" as to speak to Pope John Paul II, who had come to South Carolina for a visit.

The Rev. David Yearick once said his friend sometimes came across as harsh and unbending, but the Rev. Yearick said he did not think Mr. Jones bore hatred or bitterness toward anyone.

Mr. Jones became acting president of what was then Bob Jones College in 1932 and was named president in 1947, the same year the school became a university and moved to Greenville.

In 1971 he was appointed chancellor of the school, which was founded by his father in 1927 in College Point, Fla., and later moved to Cleveland, Tenn. His son, Bob Jones III, now is president.

Mr. Jones also was known for his cultural interests and was considered a Shakespearean authority and interpreter. He organized the university's nationally acclaimed Shakespearean repertoire group, the Classic Players.

He assembled a collection of more than 400 religious paintings in the Bob Jones University Collection of Sacred Art museum. The paintings, acquired during Mr. Jones' travels, include works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck.

He wrote the novel, Wine of Morning, which was made into a motion picture that represented the United States at the International Film Festival in Cannes, France. A later book, Cornbread and Caviar, was his autobiography.

Mr. Jones is survived by his wife, Fannie May Holmes Jones; three children; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

The funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Monday at the Founder's Memorial Amphitorium on campus.


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