Ruth Legett Jones

Philanthropy, BA 1913

Ruth Legett Jones was born in Abilene, Texas, on December 28, 1892, to Kirven Kade and Lora Bryan Legett. She attended Abilene public schools and Randolph Macon Women’s College in Virginia before enrolling in Simmons College and earning her bachelor’s degree in 1913. She was married in 1915 to Mr. Percy Jones of Wales. The couple had three children.

As a young woman she financed and directed a home economics class for Abilene’s black women and helped many of them achieve advanced education. She made a career seeking out ways in which to improve the City of Abilene and the welfare of its citizens. Through a philanthropic foundation honoring the memory of her son, Dodge Jones, she directed gifts improving Hardin-Simmons, McMurry, and Abilene Christian Universities; Hendrick Medical Center and the West Texas Rehabilitation Center; and the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest. The Dodge Jones Foundation has made untold gifts for the betterment of the Abilene community.

Mrs. Jones served on the Board of Visitors of M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute of Houston (now the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center). She served as President of the Texas Philosophical Society and as a member of the Texas State Historical Association. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1978 from McMurry University.

Mrs. Jones was posthumously honored in 2000 when she was named as the “Abilenian of the Century” by the Abilene Reporter-News. Mrs. Jones died October 16, 1978, at the age of 85.

Hardin-Simmons University proudly honors the life of Ruth Legett Jones.