Monty Tillman Jones
1932 - 2006
Monty Jones, tenor and guitarist, was known throughout the U.S. for his work as a singing evangelist. He and his family were associated with leading Seventh-day Adventist evangelists in countless crusades in the last half of the 20th century.
Monty was born in Oklahoma, the youngest of twelve children of Charles Finley and Pearl Missie Yeakle Jones, and raised in California. At age thirteen, he joined a dance band playing an electric steel and acoustic guitars, instruments he had taught himself to play as well as make. Five years later he was converted to the SDA church and then attended Pacific Union College.
He majored in theology but also studied voice under Lon Metcalfe, noted voice teacher and choir director of that era, for over three years, was a member of the select choir, and sang the tenor solos in the Messiah. A week after he graduated in 1957, he married Donna Leach, an accomplished keyboard performer who would serve as his accompanist for the rest of his career.
They taught for a year in a church school in Nevada and then accepted an invitation to move to Oregon, where Monty worked as a pastor and singing evangelist. Seven months later, he became a full-time singing evangelist and assisted a number of evangelists beginning with Clifton Walterand working in the Northwest, California, Indiana, Texas, and Canada. In Canada he served in the Alberta Conference as Ministerial Secretary and Coordinator of Evangelism, a position he held for two years before he and his wife returned to California, where they pastored in Tracy and Lodi until retirement.
The Joneses were popular Chapel Records recording artists with ten records to their credit. Six records featured Monty either singing tenor or playing guitar, with Donna providing organ and piano accompaniment. Donna also released three solo albums of organ music. One record, The Happy Side of Life, released in 1972, featured Monty and Donna with their three children - Marilynn, David, and Gregory.
Monty and Donna retired to Arizona in 1995. Monty died in 2005, at age 72. Donna currently resides in Gresham, Oregon.
Sources: Information provided by Donna Leach Jones and Marilynn Jones Venden, May 2011; ancestory.com, Jackie's Yeakle Family Tree; Record Liners and advertisements; Southwestern Union Record, 23 October 1971; North American Division Committee on Administration Meeting Minutes, 17 April 1958, 58-26; 25 October 1962, 62-102; 13 December 1962, 62-119; 18 August 1966, 66-98; 23 July 1970, 70-102; 28 September, 72-113.
Jesus, Name I LoveDonna-Leach Jones, organist, Chapel Records #S4005
I'm Looking Today for HimMonty Jones, tenor and Donna Jones, accompaniment, Chapel Records #S5091
I Know Who Holds TomorrowMonty Jones, guitar and Donna Jones, organ, Chapel Records #S5096
I Never Walk AloneDonna Jones, organ and piano, Chapel Records #S5103
Love Lifted MeMonty Jones, guitar and Donna Jones, organ, Chapel Records #S5130
Be Still and KnowDonna Jones, organ, Chapel Records #S5136
The Happy Side of LifeThe Monty and Donna Jones Family, Chapel/Bridge Records #S2239 1972)
I’ve Discovered the Way of GladnessMonty Jones, Guitar; Donna Jones, Piano and Organ – Chapel Records #5217 (1973)
Somebody Bigger than You and IDonna Jones, organ, Chapel Records #S5246 (1974)
God is so WonderfulMonty and Donna Jones, Chapel Records