Warren County Bureau
Family members, friends and union members were left to
mourn the death of Ralph Eric Jones on Thursday.
Armco Employees Independent Federation President Ed Shelley
said there is no way for union members to prepare for such a
tragedy and for those who witnessed it. Instead, he said, it
will take a lifetime to deal with.
"There's not a word you can say," Shelley said, sitting at
a picnic table outside the union's Crawford Street
headquarters, where flags were flying at half staff early
"You never want that to happen to you." Shelley said he and
other union officers went to Middletown Regional Hospital to
"do anything we can to help comfort the family."
For the family of a worker killed on the job, Shelley said
the loss is incredible.
"It's awful," he said. "It's like, you send them to work
and they don't come home."
Jones' son, James, 24, said one his father's favorite
pastimes was spending time as a family building the ornamental
stone and flower gardens surrounding the Jones home, in the
Waynesville area, where they have resided for five years since
moving from Beavercreek.
A variety of wind chimes and bird feeders also adorn the
porch, walkways and yard.
"He loved being outdoors. It was relaxing for him," James
Jones said Thursday afternoon. "I know my mom loves it. It was
something they could spend time doing together."
Gesturing to the carved rails of the porch and boardwalk
that crosses over a stone-edged lily pond filled with fish and
passes by a small waterfall, James said his father spent many
hours tending to his projects, including several lattice
structures positioned throughout the yard.
"He was a really good guy - a very hard worker," he said
quietly. "He loved building things and doing things for
people. He was a really good person."
Iris Bennett, Jones' mother-in-law, said she and her
husband, Arthur, dearly love their son-in-law.
"He was a wonderful, loving man. You couldn't ask for a
better father and son-in," she said, then paused. "He's not a
son-in-law, he's a son. He was a loving, caring person. When
you met him you couldn't help loving him. He calls me mom and
I call him son. And he was a loving husband to my daughter."
Shelley said he knew Jones's father, a retired Armco
employee, and had met Jones before.
"We're there for the family as best as we can be," Shelley
said. "We're a brotherhood type of organization," Shelley
"I think the whole union hurts. Your first thought is that
one of your brothers was killed. Your second thought was that
it could have been you."
- Journal Staff Writer Craig Heimbuch contributed
to this report.