Updated: Monday, 18 Oct 2010, 5:21 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 17 Oct 2010, 1:36 PM EDT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - Robert B. Jones, state representative and the former mayor of Kalamazoo, has passed away.
Jones, D-Kalamazoo, was running for the 20th State Senate seat against Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton.
Schuitmaker released a statement saying: "Bob served our community and state with great honor and always respected those he worked with. I will always be grateful to him for that and will miss him for that as well."
Jones was elected mayor of the city of Kalamazoo in 1998. He served until 2006 when he was elected to the Michigan House.
His family released a statement saying: " Robert Jones died suddenly this morning after a long battle with cancer. We appreciate the support, thoughts and prayers of his colleagues and our community during this difficult time.
Robert loved working for the people of our community. He was a dedicated public servant who took his job to heart and was a tireless advocate for the people he served. His leadership and hard work will be missed by those who will always think of him as their mayor."
Current Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell told 24 Hour News 8: " We have lost a great representative for this community, a great friend and a great leader. He will be greatly missed."
House Speaker Andy Dillon and Senate Democratic Leader Mike Prusi released a statement saying: " Robert was a true public servant. He was a great mayor for the city of Kalamazoo and an outstanding legislator in the Michigan House of Representatives. Anyone who knew him can attest that Robert served the people of his community with the highest integrity.
“As many people know, Robert had been fighting cancer since last year. Throughout his battle he had an indomitable spirit and always remained upbeat. He served as a mentor to other lawmakers and was greatly respected in the Michigan House and Senate. His loss will be felt deeply by his colleagues and by the many people whom he tirelessly served."
In 2003, Jones received the NAACP Humanitarian Award.
According to his website , Jones served as chair of the Kalamazoo Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board, a volunteer with the United Way, a mentor to elementary school students and a member of the Concerned men of Kalamazoo. He also served on the executive board of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. He has also served as vice president of the Michigan Municipal league, Michigan president of the National Brownfield Association, co-chair of the Urban Core Mayors and southwest Michigan director of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Jones was married to Callie Baskerville-Jones. He is survived by six children and one grandson.