Terry’s last ride

STERLING – Like his father before him, Terry Jones was a soldier, and, after his three girls, service of others was his life.

Jones, 33, began his military career his junior year in high school, part of the Rock Falls-based Illinois Army National Guard’s 1644 Transportation Company.

He served two tours in Iraq, the last with his father, and was assigned to helping with COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Chicago.

Jones, who also worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation as a highway maintenance worker in Morrison for 3 years, was home for the weekend when he was hit and killed on his motorcycle Sunday evening on Sterling’s west end.

A small bunch of flowers marked the spot Tuesday where Jones was struck, police say, by a 17-year-old driver who had swerved into the motorcycle’s path in an effort to avoid rear-ending a pickup that was waiting to make a left.

Jones was pronounced dead shortly after at CGH Medical Center, 17 days before his 34th birthday.

Among others, Sgt. 1st Class Terry L. Jones II leaves behind his wife, Amy, and their two daughters, Cadence, 9, and Evelyn, 5; his mother, Teresa Jones; his father, Terry Jones; and his sisters, Amber Jones and Danica Mason.

A gathering of friends and family is taking place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at McDonald Funeral Home, 1002 12th Ave. in Rock Falls, and graveside military services will follow at 10 a.m. Saturday at Oak Knoll Memorial Park, 18268 Pennington Road in Sterling.

Before both services, a procession of motorcycles, cars, and any type of vehicle that cares to join will be held to honor Jones.

Participants will meet at 4 p.m. Friday at The Cooler, 311 W. Second St. in Rock Falls, and from there they will travel to the funeral home.

Saturday, participants will meet at 8 a.m. in the Walmart parking lot at 1901 First Ave. in Rock Falls for coffee and donuts, followed by a safety briefing before proceeding to the cemetery off state Route 40 around 9.

“It’s OK if you can’t stay for either or don’t know him enough,” his longtime friend and organizer Brandon McCloud wrote on his Facebook page.

“We would love all the support we can get to honor the life of someone that deserves and earned so much more!”

A GoFundMe campaign has been established to help his family pay funeral expenses

“Terry was much loved and respected soldier, leader, husband, father and friend,” wrote Kimberly Watkins, the 1644th’s family readiness leader, who began the fundraiser.

“SFC Jones has been a part of 1644th Transportation Company out of Rock Falls, IL for his entire military career. He has been a vital part of the Sterling/Rock Falls community and will be greatly missed.”

The goal is $50,000; as of Wednesday night, more than $16,000 had been raised.

Go to https://tinyurl.com/7j9jews6 to donate.

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.