Ted Jones: Teacher, lawyer, storyteller and loyal husband, father and friend

Ted Jones: Teacher, lawyer, storyteller and loyal husband, father and friend

WHEN you met Ted Jones the only commodity you needed was time and lots of it.

Ted was many things: a teacher, attorney, advocate for the princes of the Church, defender of the defendant, and a dedicated social justice activist, but his most precious role in life was that of a loyal husband, father, and friend.

Ted was extraordinarily loyal.

He had a deep and unwavering faith and was most indebted to his local church, St. Gerard’s.

Ted loved to “hold court” and even though he was a tea teller, he loved socializing.

He could captivate one or 20 viewers with his storytelling, told with unparalleled fluency, mesmerizing forensic memories of details, and in a funny, charming, and often mischievous manner.

Ted was born in Belfast in 1943 to Tommy and Betty Jones.

He was one of three children. Moya, his sister, died in 1999 and he is survived by his younger sister, Eilish. The family lived at 27 McCleery Street in north Belfast.

First, Ted qualified as a teacher. He taught in St. Gabriel and loved to share his encyclopedic knowledge with his students – he could recite poetry and prose in the most contagious way.

He taught English in France and when he returned to Ireland, his well-heeled French students still greeted each other affectionately with Ted’s usual “Well” rather than the typical “Good Morning”.

In the midst of trouble, Ted began studying law. As a polymath, he was awarded a state exhibition prize for his exceptional skills.

He qualified as a lawyer in 1973 and has honored every client throughout his legal career with an excellent level of representation, regardless of their background or position.

Ted had a respected, and often dreaded, reputation for his ability to consult and recite law and jurisdiction at any time.

In both of the legal practices he established, he was a mentor, lawyer-strategist, and artful tactician.

He appeared on many high profile cases during the riots and was a stern critic of the trials that led to wrongful imprisonment and miscarriage of justice.

As a long-time advisor to the Catholic Church in Ireland, he sat on a commission that examined the implementation of stricter guidelines for the protection of children.

His reform efforts were unwavering and during a visit to Rome he made a pit stop at the Vatican to share his views with one of the Pope’s top officials.

Ted’s friendships were a testament to his loyalty to others, his close circle of friends, which consisted of friendships made in first elementary school, from teaching, studying with Queen, and over five decades of law and summers the Aran Islands and his beloved Mullaghmore.

The most important friendship of all was with the great love of his life, Kate, whom he met for the first time at the age of 16.

When Ted and Kate married in 1968, they settled at 22 McCleery Street, just doors where he grew up from.

After a stay in Carlisle Square, they moved to their current home in Strathmore Park North.

Despite being an avid traveler, Ted lived no further than a 10-minute drive within the boundaries of north Belfast all his life.

Ted and Kate had four children together: Lizanne, Nick, Rachel, and Judith.

He could really “walk with crowds and keep his virtue, talk to kings and not lose his common touch”. Doubtful that he would have approved of Kipling!

It’s more than ironic about this tribute when Ted said to a friend more than once, “I don’t want any of this nonsense when I go!”

Ted Jones died on March 5th at the age of 77.

Tom Kelly