Garry Jones, a sports photographer, reporter and editor who also covered local news, died Jan. 3, 2019, at Baptist Health Floyd Hospital in New Albany, Indiana. He was 64. From 2012 to 2015, Jones was a contributing photographer for The Voice-Tribune, and he was a longtime freelancer for Associated Press and associate at Murphy’s Camera’s flagship store.
Garry Lee Jones was born April 17, 1954, to the late William Ray Jones and Juanita Hanger Jones and spent most of his life in his Clarksville, Indiana, hometown. He was a member of Howard Park Christian Church and a 1972 graduate of Clarksville High School. He attended Indiana University.
In the 1970s, Jones was a correspondent for the Louisville Times and Courier-Journal, specializing in Southern Indiana high school sports. He later was sports editor of the New Albany Tribune and an assistant editor at the Jeffersonville Evening News. In 1985, he was named assistant editor and advertising director of Scorecard, a Falsoft publication about University of Louisville athletics. In 1989, Jones traveled with the University of Louisville football team to Tokyo to chronicle its appearance in the postseason Coca-Cola Bowl.
For the past four years, Jones worked for Bellarmine University’s sports information office, covering nearly every Knights home game. According to Bellarmine Sports Information Director John Spugnardi, Jones “never failed to deliver quality photographs, and his images have accompanied well over 1,000 news stories and social media posts for Bellarmine.” Jones’ last assignment was shooting the Bellarmine-Martin Methodist men’s basketball game on Dec. 29.
A scan of the more than 6,000 photos on Associated Press’ AP Images website shows that Jones captured great moments in history, from American Pharoah’s Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races to a “bout” with Muhammad Ali. He photographed a First Lady (Laura Bush), celebrities, tornado damage, NASCAR and NCAA championship games, both men’s and women’s.
In a sentiment echoed throughout the sports venues where Jones worked, Spugnardi said he “was always a friendly, positive presence on game days. Seemingly in a perpetual good mood, Garry greeted nearly everyone with a smile and treated all with dignity and respect. He possessed a warm chuckle that immediately befriended anyone he came into contact with.”
In the Thoroughbred racing community, Jones was known for his generosity and willingness to extend a helping hand, even to photographers who might have been considered competitors. He also seemed to know every trainer, rider, assistant, security guard, veterinarian and groom on the backstretch – and he was diligent in making sure they were properly identified in photos along with the equine stars that they cared for.
Services were held on Jan. 15 at Howard Park Christian Church. A memorial service to celebrate Jones’ professional life and accomplishments will be held in early spring.