The OVAC Salutes Robert Jones

 Dr. Robert Jones was a native of Scribner, Nebraska, where he attended West Point High School as a multi-sport athlete in football, basketball, track and baseball. After an outstanding high school football career, he received a scholarship to the University of Nebraska where he played for the great college coach, Bob Devaney.

 After college, he was selected by the Washington Redskins to start his professional career. He spent a year with the team on the taxi-squad. From the Redskins, Jones went to the Wheeling Ironmen where he played from 1964 to 1967..

 While playing and teaching in the Ohio Valley, he started medical school at West Virginia University. He graduated from medical school in 1972, graduating third in his class. After surgical residency and internships from 1972 to 1979, he came to Wheeling and started his practice. Jones was one of the prominent surgeons in the Ohio Valley and was licensed in Ohio and West Virginia.

 Dr. Jones was involved with the OVAC All-Star Football game since 1984. Dr. Luis Vasquez was the Ohio team doctor and invited him to become the West Virginia team doctor. He administered physicals at football camp as recently as 2019 and was involved with game for 36 years. He donated time every year at camp and was a team physician at the game.He has a simple self-diagnosis to explain his affliction for football. “The game is in my blood and I know of no antibiotic, pill or shot that can get it out of my system. I got involved because of the game of football. The appeal is the game itself … it doesn’t matter what aspect it is.”

 Many of the games he had seen and worked were good. But one – the 1987 Classic – stands out as great because of the luminous stars that who played in the contest. Ohio – featuring St. Clairsville’s duo of Shawn Vincent and John Spencer - defeated the Alex Shook led West Virginia team 13-11 in the All-Star game played at Steubenville because of the renovations to Wheeling Island Stadium.

 Of course, the main purpose of football and other sports is to teach the participants qualities they can take with themselves throughout their lives. Football was no different for Jones. He says he learned self-discipline – a necessary component in any surgeon’s mental make-up – by playing football all his life. “The discipline of football pushed me to be into the medical field and to be a surgeon,” Jones said.

 Dr. Jones passed away June 9, 2020. His wife, Rita, resides in Wheeling and they have six children.



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