Every year on her birthday, Imogene “Imy” Jones plans to live another one, a strategy that appears to have worked well for her because she is now an astonishing 107 years old. She was born on November 9, 1906, and believes the secret to her longevity is she has never smoked, her favorite drink is hot chocolate, and her favorite food is peanut butter. Very generous and giving by nature, Imy has devoted many of her decades to helping others.
In her younger years, she worked as the publicity director for the United Christian Missionary Society, and as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star. When World War II arrived, she was a public relations writer, and toured all over the world to places such as England, Ireland, Scotland, Geneva, Frankfurt, and Paris. Now, what she remembers most from that time were the early mornings with cold water, hot coffee, and slogging through the mud.
During the Korean War, Imy worked for the American Red Cross at their blood collection center on Georgia Street until December 21, 1953, when she transitioned to a different department to work as the Junior Red Cross Director for the Indianapolis chapter. During those years, Junior Red Cross children made tray mats, lapboards, and checkerboards for hospitals in their industrial arts classes. The home economics students baked cookies and made clothes for hospitals and homes, and in art class they painted pictures of the “American way of life” to send to children in other countries. Finally, many of the students involved with the Junior Red Cross helped prepare overseas chests and gift boxes filled with school, health, and recreational supplies for countries at war or trying to recover from natural disasters. Many also attended classes, which Imy helped teach, that certified them in Care of the Sick and Injured, Mother and Baby Care, or First-Aid. She enjoyed working with the children, and one thing she still remembers is using a megaphone to teach all of them. During her eight years as director, the Indianapolis American Red Cross was able to reach 118,600 children!
Imy was also heavily involved with her sorority, Delta Theta Tau, of which she was president of from 1937-1938. She was editor of their magazine, GRIT, for over twelve years, and in 1945 she even wrote a book chronicling the sorority’s history titled Golden Years.
In the fall of 1961 she left the American Red Cross and moved on to a new adventure by accepting a position of Executive Director for Central Indiana Council of Campfire Girls.
She also ran her own small business on East Washington Street called Four Seasons Imports and Music Center, is a past president and lifetime member of the Marion County Children's Guardian Home Guild, past president of the Irvington Business Men's Association, and was named volunteer of the year by Indianapolis Council Club of Women.
Congratulations Imy on a life well lived, and may your next years be just as filled with joy.