Jeri Jones retires from York County Parks
Jeri Jones began working for York County Parks in the maintenance department the week of the TMI disaster in 1979. Someone his mother knew told her that the parks department was looking for employees, and being newly graduated, Jones needed a job.
Jones worked in the maintenance department until 1988, when he became program coordinator. He held that position until his retirement Wednesday, Aug. 2.
Jones has used his archaeology and geology background for parks programs, including Archaeology Week, throughout his career. He feels his biggest accomplishments were Christmas Magic, the annual holiday lights show at Rocky Ridge County Park, and the Discovery Center.
“I had a traveling display called the Discovery Center that was sponsored by Hoss’s Steak and and Seahouse from 1996 till 2000, that was one of my biggest achievements in my own mind,” Jones said.
“And, of course, Christmas Magic, what can I say about that?” Jones said. “It just makes me feel young every year when Christmas Magic comes around. To hear the laughter of the families going through the trail during the show, that’s your reward right there.”
Jones’ last act as program coordinator for York County Parks was the annual Friends of the Rail Trail picnic at Hanover Junction.
“When I walk away from Hanover Junction tonight, that’s it,” he said Wednesday.
Wednesday afternoon, the parks staff gathered in a pavilion at John Rudy County Park to honor Jones for his 38 years of service. After eating lunch, Jones’ co-workers presented him with gifts and a bit of a roast. Jokes were shared, most not-so-good, as Jones is known for the bad ones he tells.
The thing he is going to miss most is working with the staff and volunteers, he said.
“I call the staff my second family," he said. "The only reason people get mad at me is because I do something wrong to see if they are paying attention. And they do.”
After retirement, Jones is planning on devoting more time to his geology business, Jones Geological Services, some research projects he’d like to do and a kids geology book of Pennsylvania he wants to write. As for the parks, Jones is hoping to come back to help with Christmas Magic, possibly as a consultant.
“It’s been the ride of my life for 38 years. I couldn’t have asked for a better career than I’ve had,” he said.