FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(EON:Enhanced Online News)--Rochelle Peabody Jones, acclaimed author of four books of non-fiction, award-winning journalist, and former Press Secretary and Spokesperson to the late Congressman Claude D. Pepper, (D) Florida, died at her home in Fort Lauderdale on November 22, 2006, of yet undetermined causes. She was 61.
“She knew the main players and her writing talents earned her tantalizing access and association to the important politicians and policies of her day”
Rochelle P. Jones was the author of:
Jones wrote for many publications, including the Washington Post, The Nation, The Congressional Quarterly, and was a longtime reporter for People Magazine and contributed articles on health and medicine to CNN.com, WebMD, The New York Daily News, The St. Petersburg Times, and had reporting duties for Knight-Ridder/Tribune syndicated paper The Bradenton Herald. She also taught courses on writing.
Jones was born August 19, 1945 and grew up in Fort Lauderdale but spent most of her professional career in the 80s through early 2002 based in Bethesda, MD, before moving back home to South Florida.
In the 1970s and early 1980s she was legislative aide to Senator Sam Nunn, (D) Georgia and Senator Lloyd Bentsen, (D) Texas. Peter Woll, a professor at Brandeis University and Jones’ co-author of The Private World of Congress, worked with Jones on Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's 1980 presidential campaign -- an unsuccessful bid in a crowded Democratic field where Gov. Jimmy Carter won the nomination and the presidency.
Graduating from Duke University in the 1960s, Jones began her career at The Palm Beach Post where she won awards for journalism, one for a series of articles on women in prison. She was awarded a Congressional Fellowship from the American Political Science Association in the early 1970s. Jones served on the board of Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, in Washington DC.
While an aide to Congressman Claude Pepper, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health and Long-term Care, in the mid 1980s, Jones was tasked with preparing high-profile speeches, letters, position statements, and legislative hearing documents in what became her hot-button field of expertise: health, Medicare/Medicaid and geriatric issues.
Jones was at Pepper’s bedside at Walter Reed Army Medical Center when in May 26, 1989 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H.W. Bush, for service on behalf of the elderly, recognizing his long public service and his many contributions such as landmark "non-mandatory retirement" legislation. Up until his death, Jones was the Congressman's constant and tireless contact with The Miami Herald and The New York Times and served as his indispensable liaison to many notable South Florida politicos including influential Cuban National Foundation founder and late-president, Jorge Mas Canosa.
"She knew the main players and her writing talents earned her tantalizing access and association to the important politicians and policies of her day," said long-time friend and writer, Arch Angelus Sturaitis.
Her strong ties to colleagues, neighbors and those she affectionately called "my dear childhood friends," included many who are now leaders in their respective fields and industries. "We do have an unusually close set of high school friends," said friend Rick Gore, National Geographic Magazine science writer and scion of prominent family that owned the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel. Rick Gore and his late brother Chris, authored the hit musical play Nefertiti.
A Memorial Service will be held Monday, February 19, 2007, 11 AM at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1400 Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL.