Ulysses Jones, a battalion chief of the Memphis Fire Department and one of the longest-serving and most respected members of the Tennessee legislature, has died in Memphis at the age of 59 from a collapsed lung, various sources have confirmed. Exact details, not as yet forthcoming, will be reported as learned.
Jones had just been reelected without opposition to his 13th term in the state House of Representatives. A Democrat, he represented District 98, a sprawling area in north central Memphis. He had numerous committee memberships and was the chair of the House Ethics Committee. He had served as chairman of the Tennessee African-American Male Task Force, and the Governor's Minority Business Development Advisory Committee, and 1st Vice-President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
Universally respected in the legislature, Jones was an impassioned and highly active floor speaker on causes he favored. Some of these included the state lottery and state enterprise zone legislation.
In 1977, as part of a Fire Department First Response unit, Jones answered an emergency call to the home of Elvis Presley. One of those who discovered the late entertainer on the floor of his bathroom at Graceland, he participated in emergency resuscitation efforts and transported Presley to the old Baptist Memorial Hospital structure on Union Avenue, where Presley was pronounced dead.