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Retired Judge Jones reminisces as naming of courthouse nears

By David Skolnick

Sunday, April 13, 2003

The judge was born and worked near the federal courthouse location.
& lt;a & gt;By DAVID SKOLNICK & lt;/a & gt;
YOUNGSTOWN -- As it starts to sink in that the city's second federal courthouse will be officially named in his honor next month, retired senior U.S. Judge Nathaniel R. Jones is starting to get nostalgic.
Judge Jones, 76, was born in a house on Court Street in the city's Smoky Hollow section, a few blocks from the location of the courthouse, which opened in October on the corner of East Commerce Street and Wick Avenue.
He worked in two buildings near the courthouse site and also at city hall, when he served as executive director of the city's Fair Employment Practices Commission from 1956 to 1959.
He often would walk past the location on his way to attend law classes at night at Youngstown State University.
"I can remember the number of times I would trudge up that hill up Wick Avenue to classes," he said. "I particularly remember the summer months, it would be hot. I'd walk up there carrying my books, and I'd see my friends driving around in their cars going out on dates while I was walking to class."
But it was all worth it in the end, Judge Jones said.
May 5 ceremony
Judge Jones, one of the city's most prominent jurists, will be honored May 5 when the courthouse is officially named for him. Judges, politicians and many people who worked with and for him will attend the ceremony.
The judge is busy calling people, some whom he hasn't talk to in years, to invite to the event. "I'm very excited about it," he said.
Congress approved a bill in February to name Youngstown's second federal courthouse after Judge Jones, who served 16 years on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati before retiring last year.
Judge Jones has a long and distinguished legal and civil rights career that includes being the first black appointed as assistant U.S. attorney for the Northeast District of Ohio in 1962, serving as assistant general counsel to President Lyndon B. Johnson's National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, and serving 10 years as general counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
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