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UAFS veteran Stacey Jones dead at 70, Cause of Death

BY Anas Shah Oct 09, 2022. 01:25 pm UPDATED: Oct 09, 2022. 01:25 pm

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Stacey Jones, who had just left her position as assistant vice chancellor for campus and community events at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and had overseen the well-known Season of Entertainment for 39 years, passed away on Saturday (Oct. 8). He was 70.

For nearly 50 years, Jones was involved with the university and its forerunner institutions, spending the majority of that time assisting in establishing connections between the university and the local community through performances, plays, pageants, and other activities. Numerous Broadway shows were brought to Fort Smith as part of the Season of Entertainment series. Some of the well-known performers who appeared in Fort Smith as part of the Series of Entertainment included Lucie Arnaz, Dizzy Gillespie, Patti LuPone, Steve Allen, Lawrence Welk, “Doc” Severinsen, and the Blue Man Group.

“The mission of that, quite frankly, always was to bring nationally touring programs to our community and at the same time, better opportunities to our students,” Jones said in the story, noting that at times there were more students performing on the stage than audience members watching. “Over the years with the Season of Entertainment, there were times at jazz concerts I would 600 to 700 people or higher in the audience. That’s almost unheard of for college programs. … Those kids deserve that, and they got great audiences. That was my motivation.”

The broad significance of the arts to local and regional health was also mentioned by Jones.

“Performing arts and live arts are important to a community. They are important to the lifeblood of the community. You look around the country at cities that don’t have those, and I can tell you right now, they are missing a piece of the pie,” Jones said.

Additionally, he was well-liked and respected in the national and state pageant scenes. Jones sought to make the Miss Westark pageant a qualifier for the Miss Arkansas pageant in 1978. Additionally, the change brought the pageant under the Miss American umbrella, where the winners received scholarships. Shawntell Smith, a Miss Westark contestant who won, went on to become Miss America in 1996.

The following statement was sent to faculty members and students on Saturday, October 8, by UAFS Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley.

“Today, I am writing to share the incredibly sad news that Stacey Jones passed away unexpectedly this morning. He was in his home and his beloved wife, Sheila, was with him.

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