Our lives were changed forever last weekend with the sudden, tragic, and preventable passing of our beloved father, husband, son, brother David Kline Jones. To the SPH community, David was a professor, a colleague, a mentor, and a friend. We would like to take the time to thank the Boston University School of Public Health community for the outpouring of generosity and support for our family during this time.
Our hope is that this unimaginable tragic loss will foster a renewed commitment to create safe and healthy environments for all people. David cared wholly and deeply about people, about communities, and about humanity. He knew that the love and care we have for each other is reflected in how safe and nurturing every community is. He advocated tirelessly for social and racial justice in his public health work at SPH, as well as in his community as a steering committee member of the Milton Anti-Racist Coalition. David wrote in his soon-to-be published book, Ripples of Hope: Health, Race, and Equity in the Mississippi Delta: “I came to better understand that racism is more than bad people intentionally harming someone else they view as inferior. It can take that form, but it is also people—sometimes including me—who believe they are not racist but who are unable to acknowledge or unwilling to change the systems that structurally benefit them while disadvantaging entire groups. The more time I spent in Mississippi, the more I was able to see the same inequities and racism in my own community.”
David was a champion for high-quality equitable education and healthcare for all. Based on his thorough research, he wrote: “Overwhelming evidence suggests that education is one of the most important—if not the most important—factor shaping the opportunities that young people will have for a healthy life. Providing a high-quality education to all children is a critical step on the path to racial equity.”
He cherished each and every one of his students and colleagues. He loved to have deep conversations where he would listen intently to try to understand the perspective of others and share his ideas. To know him was to understand his love for health reform, policy, and politics—and also his passion for life that included a love of art, running, hiking, the Yankees, Liverpool, and Phish.
David’s life was shaped by his kindness and compassion for others, and we are grateful for the lasting impact that he has made in his professional and personal relationships. He meant the world to us, and we thank you again for your incredible support. Please share your memories of David with us on the Facebook page: In Memory of David Kline Jones.
We look forward to having the opportunity to share memories of David’s life–to celebrate what he gave us all at the memorial for David planned for Thursday, September 23 from 3-5pm for his relatives, students, and the SPH community. In lieu of flowers and gifts, consider donating to a fund set up by his BU colleagues for David’s children: https://gofund.me/4149b9c0