West Philadelphia man celebrates 104th birthday on New Year's Eve

Ernest Jones marked a milestone on the last day of 2020. He turned 104 years old.

Normally the community room at his senior living apartment complex in West Philadelphia would be packed with well-wishers, but COVID kept the celebration small and safe.

"Everything has really surprised me today. My phone started ringing at 9:30 last night," Jones said. "This morning it's been ringing since 7 o'clock, people calling me."

He is known as "Pop Jones" to family and friends. 

He credits his 35 years as a paper hanger for keeping him light on his feet. 

"If paper hanging, painting, you get miles and miles of work, You're up and down the ladder," Jones said. "I had enough exercise to last me for a lifetime that's what helped me."

Jones graduated Overbrook High School in 1937, married his wife Dorthea Burden, and has eight children — five boys and three girls.

Pop Jones is a big sports fan. His son Wali Jones is a former Philadelphia 76ers star.

His great-niece Franchella Simmons says he's an extraordinary man and the backbone of the family.

"He doesn't miss a beat. He pays attention to everyone. He's very detailed. He has such a sense of humor,"  she said.


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