Long-time DeSoto media friend and community liaison Kathy Jones retires

Kathy Jones with Carl Sherman Jr. holding a frame
Kathy Jones with Carl Sherman Photo courtesy City of DeSoto

DESOTO –For nearly thirty years, Kathy Jones dedicated her career to City Hall in DeSoto, becoming known as the “Jewel of DeSoto” before her recent retirement. As the city’s Community Relations Manager and a media liaison, Jones had long planned her retirement, which finally took place last Thursday.

To celebrate her years of service, a retirement party was held in her honor, attended by mayors, city managers, and colleagues who had worked alongside her for years. Jones’s responsibilities included managing citizen communication, which involved producing the city newsletter, fliers, and brochures. She also oversaw the city’s government access channel and filmed live broadcasts of city council and other public meetings. Since 1999, she had been the staff liaison to the Arts Commission, coordinating numerous city-wide festivals and events.

In recognition of her contributions, the city officially declared February 29, 2024, as Kathy Jones Day. Jones was also presented with an honorary street sign upon her retirement last week.

“I was completely overwhelmed and surprised that the Mayor would declare Kathy Jones Day,” she said. “That was totally unexpected. I love my street sign; I have seen lots of people receive those over the years but never thought that I would receive one.”

five people with street sign

She said her most satisfying accomplishment with the city was the arts in DeSoto.

“The City Council appointed the first Arts Commission in 1999, and I was the staff liaison for the Commission until it was replaced by the Cultural Arts Foundation last year,” Jones explained. The Arts Commission started the City’s arts grant program, which provided funding for local artists and arts programs. They also sponsored many special events, concerts, plays, and performances over the years. My proudest moment occurred at the 2019 DeSoto Arts Live festival, with Ruben Studdard as the headliner.

Jones’ family moved to DeSoto when she was in the seventh grade. She graduated from DeSoto High School in the ’72 class. During that time, she also played piccolo in the award-winning DeSoto High School Band and represented the DeSoto Fire Department as the 1972 Miss Flame.

In all, Jones has been a resident of DeSoto for over 50 years.

She did not actually begin her career in DeSoto; she had originally worked in the risk management field for ENSERCH Corporation and EDS. Following the birth of her second child, Jones decided to look for an opportunity closer to home and took a position in the marketing department of The Cedars Hospital (now Hickory Trail Hospital), which allowed her to become involved with the community through volunteer work with the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce, DeSoto PTA’s and the DeSoto Council of Cultural Arts. Her community involvement and the community relations experience gained at The Cedars helped to prepare her to work for the city.

Jones said the biggest change she has seen since she began working at City Hall has been the increase in the population over the last 28 years of her tenure.

“We have more than doubled our population,” she said.

Jones and her husband, Rick, have three daughters and a son who passed away, and she boasts 11 grandchildren under the age of 16.

In her retirement, she plans to learn how to garden and serve as a volunteer on numerous boards.

“It has been the pleasure of my life to work for the City of DeSoto,” Jones concluded. I love putting on events, and the City of DeSoto actually paid me to do what I would have done as a volunteer. It doesn’t get any better than that.”