Reggie Jones, Jones Beach’s Longest-Serving Lifeguard, Dies at 93

Albert Reginald Jones was born in Manhattan on April 8, 1927, to Mary Kate and Adam Jones, Irish immigrants, and matured on Long Island. As a wrestler at Baldwin High School, he won a Long Island championship in 1944.
That exact same year, his child said, he started lifeguarding at Jones Beach to leave operating at his fathers gas station.
” He never ever had an official swimming lesson, but he was so strong he might have passed any test,” the more youthful Mr. Jones stated. “Once he got the job, he said, Valhalla, I have actually shown up.”.
It was a time before cooling and yard pools were widespread. Jones Beach crowds were huge, and the lifeguards, like lots of beachgoers, dressed decently.
” Now they wear oral floss,” Mr. Jones told The New York Times in 2000.
” The very first swimwear walked on the beach around 1952,” he remembered. “She nearly caused a riot, and the authorities took her away.”.

Mr. Jones took pleasure in showing off his capability to bang out one-armed push-ups and one-armed pull-ups with his legs extended horizontally.
Cary Epstein, another Jones Beach lifeguard, said that when he started at the beach 23 years ago at age 17, Mr. Jones was still motivating younger lifeguards by enthusiastically running ocean saves and exercising continuously.
” When I dealt with him, he was four times my age, but he took men like me under his wing and mentored us in how to find rescues and taught us the love of the water and the beach,” Mr. Epstein said.
Mr. Joness most critical rescue was of a big, having a hard time swimmer in the ocean during a thick fog. He reached the swimmer however could not see the shoreline to swim him in.
” He stated that was the most strenuous, stressful experiences of his life,” his kid remembered. “To keep that person afloat by himself and fight the current. But he did handle to conserve him.”.

An amusing, flamboyant figure, he would show up in his old woolen one-piece tank-top lifeguard fit and pass the difficult swimming pool sprint. He last passed the test in 2008, when he was 80.
The next year, he missed the 100-yard swims needed time of 80 seconds– by two seconds– forcing the relatively ageless lifesaver into retirement, his son stated.
While it was only coincidence that Mr. Joness surname was likewise that of the well-known beach he secured, it did seem to further cement his status as its best-known worker.
After retiring from lifeguarding, he invested numerous years working on the boardwalk as the beachs ambassador and chief storyteller. This permitted him to continue to mentor lifeguards and to enjoy his extreme workout routine of energetic ocean swims, beach runs and weight lifting.
” He enjoyed the entire environment– being outdoors in the fresh air, the workout and the social aspect of it,” stated his child, an assistant chief lifeguard at Point Lookout on Long Island who has worked for 53 years on the beach himself.

In the late 1940s, Mr. Jones fulfilled his future partner, Bette Gallacher, at a beach concession stand, where she worked as a cashier. They wed in 1950. She passed away in 2006.
” He said that was the most difficult, stressful experiences of his life,” his kid recalled. “To keep that man afloat by himself and combat the present.

Mr. Joness child said that he requested he be cremated and his ashes scattered in the ocean off Jones Beach from a rescue dory.

Reggie Jones, whose 64-year tenure made him the longest-serving lifeguard at Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, passed away on Jan. 30 in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
He was 93. His death, at a nursing home, was confirmed by his son, also called Reggie Jones, who said the cause was probably diabetes.
Mr. Jones, a World War II Navy veteran, began his lifeguard profession at Jones Beach as a teen in 1944 and worked every summer season– including numerous years at other state beaches on Long Island– up until 2009, making more than 1,000 ocean saves.
Even well into his 70s, Mr. Jones continued to amaze his fellow lifeguards by passing the beachs notoriously demanding recertification test each spring.

In the late 1940s, Mr. Jones met his fiancée, Bette Gallacher, at a beach concession stand, where she worked as a cashier. They wed in 1950. She passed away in 2006.
In addition to his boy Reggie, Mr. Jones is endured by another kid, Gavin; a sibling, Sheila Uris; and 2 granddaughters. His boy Kevin passed away in 1982.
Mr. Jones taught social research studies for more than 30 years at Garden City Junior High School, where he likewise coached fumbling. He spent a half-century working as a high school and collegiate fumbling referee and in 1997 ended up being a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
By the 1990s, Mr. Jones had ended up being the dean of a not likely cadre of older ocean lifeguards. He worked out of a lifeguard shack at Jones Beachs East Bathhouse that, since it was a base for veteran lifeguards, ended up being affectionately called Jurassic Park.
One of them, Lee Hahn, 77, who after 56 years as a lifeguard now works as a lifeguard devices supervisor at Jones Beach, said that Mr. Jones “was healthy like theres no tomorrow” which every New Years Day Mr. Jones led a polar bear swim in the freezing waters at Jones Beach, constantly in his old woolen one-piece.
” He called it his yearly physical,” Mr. Hahn said. “If it didnt kill him, he d be good for another year.”.
Off the lifeguard stand, Mr. Jones was either working out or informing stories and jokes to beachgoers, stated Bruce Meirowitz, 69, a lifeguard with 53 summertimes on the beach.