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World War II veteran to be feted at Parkersburg’s Zion Baptist Church

Marchell Jones will turn 95 on Saturday. Zion Baptist Church in Parkersburg will commemorate his service in the Army in World War II at the 11 a.m. Sunday service. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — A retired barber in Parkersburg who saw action in World War II will be honored at the 11 a.m. Sunday services at the Zion Baptist Church, Eighth and Clay streets.

Marchell Jones, who was a barber with his shop on 20th Street for more than 50 years, also will turn 95 on Saturday.

Jones, originally from St. Albans, went into the U.S. Army at age 17 and was a medic, serving in Okinawa and elsewhere in the Pacific Theater. Jones was in the Army from 1944-1947.

“Oh yes, I’m very proud of that,” Jones said.

He also served 28 days aboard the USS Sam that was attacked by a kamikaze pilot, said Zion Baptist Pastor Larry Dale.

Marchell Jones in World War II. (Photo Provided)

How Jones became a honoree at the church was through Dale.

Dale said he and Jones have much in common, military service and they came from the same town in West Virginia, St. Albans, Jones from Amandaville and Dale from Chemical City.

“We had a lot more in common than we knew,” Dale said. “We’re both St. Albans boys.”

Jones’ son, Marchell Jr., would take him to church in the morning and Dale would drive him home afterward.

“On one of these rides home Marchell talked about his days in the military,” Dale said.

From left, Marchell Jones and his son, Marchell Jr., in their barber shop on 20th Street in 2018. The senior Jones will be feted for his World War II service Sunday at Zion Baptist Church. (File Photo)

Jones’ service during the war was intriguing, Dale said. He was assigned to field hospitals aiding doctors caring for the wounded GIs, Dale said.

Jones also was responsible for retrieving casualties from the field and preparing the remains to be returned to the families, Dale said.

Sunday’s service will have veteran participation in components of the service, Dale said. Jones will receive special commemoration, Dale said.

Among the worst times was when he was on a destroyer for the trip across the ocean for 29 days. Jones suffered extreme sea sickness.

“Sickest I have ever been,” he said.

Jones’ barber shop is connected to his home on 20th Street. His son, Marchell Jones Jr., took over the business in 2018.

Jones’ late wife, Eunice, who he met in Charleston, attended the Zion Baptist Church while he attended Bethel AME.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.

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