'Ol' Possum' Jones had deep East Texas roots

He was a country legend to many, but to his family and friends he was just George.

"Yea, he was the baby," said George Jones' sister, Helen Scroggins, who lives in Tyler County.

Scroggins was ten years older than her brother and says it was hard to see him as a country music icon.

"It kind of surprised us all," she said. "We never dreamed about no one in the family singing."

Jones never lost his love for East Texas. That's why he started his one music venue, Jones Country.

"The atmosphere here was tremendous," said Kelly Murphey, who was a regular attendee of Jones Country and now manages the RV park. "People excited to see famous people in Colemesneil."

Even though Jones only played three times a year in Colmesneil, he made sure this stage saw plenty of action.

"We had George Strait, Ricky Van Shelton, Hank Williams," Murphey said.

Some called Jones "Ol' Possum" and all though there are many ideas behind the name, his sister says there is only one.

"Possum, I think they did that because he didn't show up," Scroggins said.

Jones would deal with issues most of his career but would recover and had only one wish.

"He said one of these days I'm going to preach before I die, but I don't think he got to do that," Scroggins said.

His family wanted him to wind down and relax at home, but Jones didn't think that was possible.

"We talked to him about quitting the road and taking it easy, and he said, 'What would I do? Music is the only thing I know.'"

According to family members, Jones' funeral will be either Tuesday or Wednesday at the Grand Ol' Opray in Nashville.

Jones' father, George Washington Jones, was born in Lufkin, according to cemetery records. He was born on Jan. 10, 1895, to David Raleigh Jones and Mary Margret Farris.

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