Theiss Jones is home


John Hall and I met Theiss Jones in a place he loved doing what he loved to do. We found him in New Hampshire in 2005 on yet another mission trip with a group from First Baptist Church, Temple. Theiss received his mail in Temple but that was not his home. His home was wherever God called him to be at the time because Theiss loved Him and the people He sent him to minister to through music but mostly with his smile.

Theiss went to his eternal home last night after a brave battle with a cruel disease. We grieve for our loss yet celebrate his life and ministry and look forward to the day we will join him in the choir before the throne in heaven.

Enjoy this short video we put together from our visit back in 2005 and thank God for giving us Theiss Jones for a while.

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2 Responses to “Theiss Jones is home”

  1. Mike Rumsey Says:

    I have the fondest memories of Theiss Jones. He was my mentor as I served FBC as Minister of Youth/ Recreation from 80-84. I am praying for his family and the many who loved and respected him.

  2. Mingming Swenson Says:

    We live just a mile down the road from Theiss and Suzie in Temple. Many have known their mission trips to foreign countries – including China. But Theiss has been ministering to people from foreign countries way before his mission trips… I couldn’t help writing to Dr. Martin Knox, pastor of First Baptist Church in Temple, after I had learned the passing of Theiss yesterday.

    Dr. Knox,

    I wrote the enclosed e-mail to my Chinese Church friends after reading the obituary of Theiss. Just thought you might like to know – from one more person – what a great example Theiss had been both as a minister to people and as a servant to God.

    You just can’t find a better voice or a more humble heart …

    Mingming & Jack Swenson

    “Love never fails” – 1 Corinthians 13:8


    There was an Academy Award movie entitled “Three weddings and a funeral”. Somehow, just two months into the new year, I’ve already encountered three funerals and a wedding. Below is a link to the obituary of Rev. Theiss Jones – wonderful musician, great leader, and a perfect model for a servant to God.

    I was shocked to read his obituary in Temple Daily Telegram late this morning. Less than two years ago, when I was so frightened by the grim aspect of my breast cancer recurrence and the upcoming double
    mastectomy, I contacted Theiss and asked for a prayer. I had planned it in my head that in the event of my death sometime down the road, Jack would ask him to hold the funeral service for me.

    When I just moved to Temple in late 1986, one of our library volunteers (and a retired librarian) invited me to her church downtown. Mrs. Mildred Blankenship told me they had the best choir in town. I went to the Wednesday night choir practice – the first time I met Theiss, the Music Minister. Over the years, he had sung in our wedding (both in Mandarin Chinese and English (translated by himself of a song based on 1st Corinthians Chapter 13); given me good reference whenever I was looking for a job – numerous times as everyone knows how good I am in losing jobs; visited me in the hospital – several times since the first one in 1990.

    He visited with my family and friends during my first brain tumor surgery – I was an active choir member, nursing home song leader, and jail ministery volunteer back then. Dr. Alan Y. C. Cheung had just moved from Canada two years before and organized the Chinese families in the local area, and I was busy assisting him setting up
    picnics and Chinese New Year Dinners. So many wonderful friends helped me to pull out of the semi-comatose and rehabilitation process. Dr. Scott Chen had checked me over in his residence and assured me after reading the x-rays that the neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles Chang, would be able to figure out the way to safely resect the tumor. Pinn-pinn brought sandwiches to my friends and family and stayed overnight with them in the hospital. Alicia and Victor Go had offered for my Oldest Brother to stay in their motel right across the hospital. John Chu (Holly’s
    husband) kept my brother company. Dr. Cheung went in and out of the Operation Room to give updates on how the surgery was progressing…

    When I went back to the choir 3 months after the surgery – too soon by all standards – Theiss quietely motioned to me after my first practice in the Alto Section that I ought to go back to my original 2nd Sopranos’ section. I had regained my ability to talk after intense speech therapy but thought I could not reach the pitch as a soprano any more…

    Theiss has the best temperament among music leaders – forever patient, yet firm on principles and tactful in action. It was not easy to lead a choir full of doctors, lawyers, school administrators as well as the laborers, young college students and the unemployed. But Theiss did it perfectly with earnest and a good sense of humor. He would encourage young (and old) singers in such a way that our voices just soared. And on Wednesday nights we had such good time to sing, fellowship, and get recharged for the rest of the week…

    When the Chinese congregation started meeting at Belton FBC, I thought I could stayed in the choir in Temple while attending the Chinese service in Belton. But I got sick again, and again; lost my job again and again.
    Theiss retired in 2002 and we really had not had any contact except before my breast cancer surgeries.

    I was just really in shock reading his obiturary. Several years ago, when a tragedy happend around Easter, I began to read the poem “April is the cruelest month of the year” from the Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. This time, I felt like a poem needed to be written for all the deaths I have witnessed in the first two months of the year.

    He was instrumental in bringing the Chinese orchestra to Temple many years ago. He has been to more places in China
    than most of us…

    Mingming & Jack

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