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Pitt professor championed hope for underprivileged

| Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When Anne Rose Jones was described as the epitome of a social worker, it was the ultimate praise for a woman who spent her life in the service of others.

"It was my mother's mission in life to better the lives of those who were underprivileged or didn't have the opportunity or a voice in improving their lives," said her daughter, Connie Rose-Leagiton of Downingtown, Chester County.

Anne Rose Jones of Oakland, a professor emerita of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, died on Saturday, April 16, 2011, in her home. She was 89.

Federal Judge Lornette A. Reynolds of Miami, who lived in the Jones home while studying for her law degree, recalled Mrs. Jones as a person who had firm convictions but allowed the life she lived to be her pulpit, leading by example rather than by preaching.

Mrs. Jones' greatest achievement, Rose-Leagiton added, was her ability to touch and support so many individuals at a personal level, such as inviting those who had no place to go for dinner to their home for the holidays.

"You never knew who, or how many, were coming in the front door for the holiday dinner," her daughter said. "Mom was a good cook and didn't mind cooking for one or for many."

Although Mrs. Jones had received numerous accolades for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of others, it was the years she spent at Pitt, where she was a founder and director of the university's undergraduate program in social work, that gave her a great deal of satisfaction, her daughter said.

"She felt so strongly about the importance of continuing her education that she received her master's in 1964 and her doctorate in 1978 in the field of social work from Pitt," Rose-Leagiton said.

Mrs. Jones' humanitarian efforts began in 1944 when, upon receiving her undergraduate degree from Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., she went to work in a migrant camp in Homer, N.Y., where she was able to provide for them the necessities needed to sustain some semblance of a normal life.

Upon arriving in Pittsburgh in 1948, Mrs. Jones first was employed in the Termon Avenue Home for Children in the North Side.

"Although many of my mother's humanitarian efforts involved children, including serving on the board of the Three Rivers Adoption Council, she was an advocate for all ages," her daughter said. "When she was the program director at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement House in the Hill District, she had meaningful activities for everyone, including young and old."

Born and raised in New Castle, Ann Rose Derr was one of four children of steelworker Frank Derr and his wife, Maude Enloe Derr.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Jones is survived by her son-in-law, Lee Leagiton; nephews, Frank Derr of Kentucky and Ronald Hill of Oakland; and great-nephews, Travis and Matthew Hill.

Mrs. Jones was preceded in death by her husband, Paul L. Jones, in 1999, and siblings Grace, Jean and Frank Derr.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in White Memorial Chapel of Point Breeze, 7204 Thomas Blvd.

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