The Flint faith community is mourning the losses of three highly respected men this week.
COVID-19 took the lives of Bishop Robert Earl Smith Sr., Pastor Kevelin Jones of Bountiful Love Ministries and Elder Freddie Brown over the past couple of days.
Superintendent Myron Lett of Detroit also passed away due to COVID-19.
“Pastor Kevelin Jones and Bishop Robert Smith were both fathers to me. I had the chance to serve at Bountiful Love Church of God in Christ under pastor Kevelin Jones for years,” Pastor Chris Martin of Cathedral of Faith Ministries said.
Martin remembered Brown as a servant and a family man and said the elder and Jones had underlying health conditions.
“This thing grabbed him and wouldn’t let go,” said the grieving widow, Iola Jones, Pastor Jones’ wife, according to NBC25.
“I never wanted to know the earth without him, but I’m going to make it because I have all these kids,” said Jones.
Surrounding their mother in the pulpit inside Bountiful Love Ministries Church of God In Christ the Jones family is practicing social distancing as they remember their father.
“I would describe him as a hero to many … a father to many,” added Kevelin B. Jones Jr. “I haven’t seen him since the Sunday he was sitting in the back with his mask on.”
The family says 72-year-old Jones was diagnosed with COVD-19 on Saturday. This Thursday, they got the call from the hospital he died.
“We knew because people were waiting for us when we got off the elevator,” said Kevelin B. Jones Jr.
“I don’t think I have fully accepted it because I haven’t seen my father,” Jones’ oldest daughter, Sharee Hubbard, was quoted as saying.
“He taught all of us a lot about family and faith and a lot about having joy,” Martin recalled. “He was a man of hospitality. He was the guy that would give you anything that he had. He would often go to Genesee Valley with bull horns and preach repentance or the Bible or go door to door and preach.”
“He loved this church and gave everything he was and is, to ensure that the doors of this church stayed open for this community, for the family, and so individuals would have a place to come and worship God freely,” MLive quoted Jones’s 45-year-old son, Nick South, as saying.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton wrote on Facebook that Jones introduced him to the Michigan Democratic Convention when he was nominated as Attorney General in 2010.
It’s not known how the three contracted the COVID-19 disease.