Friends and family gather in Milton for BU Professor David K. Jones’ memorial service


MILTON – Friends and family gathered Sunday afternoon to remember Boston University Professor David K. Jones, who died after falling down rusted state stairs in Dorchester eight days earlier.

Lois McCloskey, associate professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University, said Jones was “a light”.

“He brought insight; he brought humor and generosity with him, ”McCloskey said in an interview during the wake at the Alfred D. Thomas Funeral Home. “So for me he was the incredible combination of friendliness and academically really smart and effective.”

Jones was found at around 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 under a staircase connecting Old Colony Road to the Columbia Road flyover near the JFK / UMass MBTA station, authorities said. The stairs were “deemed unsafe for about 20 months and closed,” said David Procopio, a spokesman for the state police, and the MBTA had warned the public not to use the stairs.

BU professor Dr. David Jones. BU School of Public Health

A wire fence blocked the lower entrance and a Jersey barrier and chain link fence blocked access above, Procopio said. It is unclear how Jones entered the area.

Jones was an associate professor in the BU’s health law, policy and management department, the Globe reported. He was born in Utah and grew up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York. He received a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal and a PhD in health services, organization, and politics from the University of Michigan.

Michelle Sonia Wilkinson, 37, of Weymouth said she was Jones’ classmate at the University of North Carolina in 2007 and the two had become close friends. She described Jones as a “great, great person” and said his death was “incredible to me.”

“David was just so intelligent and he had so much to give,” said Wilkinson. “That’s why it’s so tragic.”

When Jones was doing her PhD at the University of Michigan around 2011, she was also working on a long-term project and had to travel to Ann Arbor every week. She said Jones and his family made her feel at home.

“Just hanging out and being with them, sort of family dinner and stuff, because when you get to work you’re always alone in a hotel, so it was nice to just feel like being back with the family,” said Wilkinson.

Over the years, she said, she and Jones stayed close.

“Your family still comes to my children’s birthday parties and so on,” said Wilkinson.

McCloskey, the BU’s associate professor, recalled a time when she forgot to prepare for a doctoral exam and “David came to the rescue.”

“He was so nice,” she recalls, “and in an academic setting where a lot of people would have been very judgmental, he said, ‘No problem. Here’s what this was about. I cover you and don’t worry. We all make mistakes.’ ”

Adam Sennott can be reached at [email protected]


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