Bernice Jones was born October 31, 1905 in Springdale, AR. She attended the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville from 1924-1928, and taught school at Harmon and Oak Grove Schools from 1926-1931. In 1938 she married Harvey Jones, at which time they set out to continue to build the Jones Truck Line, which eventually became the nation’s largest privately-owned carrier by the time it was sold in 1980. In the early years (1952), Harvey and Bernice and others, founded Northwest Medical Center and Hospital in Springdale, which over the years grew into a multi-million dollar facility. Both Bernice and Harvey’s continued service on the Board spanned 51 years, from 1952-2003. In 1968, they established Har-Ber Village Museum, a large antique village on the Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in Grove, OK that consisted of over 100 independent buildings. Free of charge, they welcomed over 600,000 visitors/yr from all 48 states and many overseas countries. After Harvey passed in 1980, Bernice dedicated her philanthropic energy to help advance private giving throughout Arkansas. Examples include the establishment of the Harvey and Bernice Jones Center for Families in Springdale, dedicated to strengthening the family. This center of over 245,000 sq ft on 38 acres, contains multiple classrooms, conference centers, several indoor and outdoor recreation facilities to include two swimming pools, ice skating rink and a full size gymnasium. Also on this campus, the old truck line maintenance shop was renovated for offices for 34 community charitable agencies.
Her major awards include the first Arkansan to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal for exemplary deeds of service to her fellow citizens, presented by President Bill Clinton.
Bernice Jones was not only a major philanthropic leader in Arkansas, but through her example, established a legacy that has yet to be surpassed.