Making the Most of Retirement: Alumnus Takes Teaching Ministry to Africa

Jerry Jones ’67, M ’71 is driven by faith. And faith has driven him in some interesting directions over the years: a teacher, a taxman, a caregiver, a world traveler.

Jerry Jones '67, M '71

Jerry Jones ’67, M ’71 literally sold the farm to move to the southern African nation of Malawi in 2008. Here he poses with some of his students at the Iris Africa School for orphans.

He’s held more titles in 10 years of retirement than he ever did as a professional, including literally selling the farm to become headmaster of a private elementary school for orphans in the southern African nation of Malawi.

One of the poorest nations in the world, Malawi is home to more than a million orphans. The AIDS virus affects one in six adults, Jerry says.

Jerry and his wife, Linda, braved the harsh conditions — including 125-degree heat — to work for free in heed of their religious calling, but also for the rewards.

“They were the most wonderful kids I’ve ever worked with,” says Jerry, who started his career as a math teacher before landing a government job. “They were so grateful.”

Jerry stepped away from his job as manager in the Research Division of the IRS after 30 years as an analyst to purchase a piece of countryside he dubbed Redemption Farm and established a home for troubled young men in western Maryland.

After seven years as foster parents to more than two dozen boys, Jerry and Linda headed West on a classic post-retirement tour of America via RV. At a church in California, a fellow congregant introduced the idea of missionary work in Africa to Jerry.

“It’s been an ongoing adventure,” Jerry says.

He currently volunteers as part of Celebrate Recovery, a national Christian ministry dedicated to helping people who struggle with addictions.

“There’s an awful lot of teaching with this mentoring,” Jerry says. “Oswego did a great job of teaching me how to teach.”

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