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‘Mighty Mike’ remembered for commitment to family, contribution to Jamaican music

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter

Sunday, July 29, 2012    

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IRIE FM radio personality Michael Anthony Jones, better known as "Mighty Mike", was remembered on July 20 as one who had "the love of an incredibly wide cross section of Jamaican and reggae music enthusiasts, urban and rural persons from all walks of life.”

This was evidenced by the large number of people who were present at the Ridgemount United Church in Mandeville for the slated 10:00am viewing of the body and the midday Thanksgiving service.

Tributes captured the mood of grieving family and friends and brought back a range of memories of Jones.

The 52-year-old passed away at his home in Ocho Rios, St Ann, on July 5 from complications caused by diabetes.

In the lengthy eulogy, read by Michael Terrelonge, he said Jones was like a brother.

Mighty Mike is said to have inherited many of the personal attributes of his father Hepburn, particularly his "selfless love for family, a capacity for hard and disciplined work, deep personal integrity and a desire for excellence in what they did.

"On his father's advice to take a ‘secure job’ Jones followed his footsteps into the bauxite industry and started working as a water-treatment operator at Alcan in the latter part of the 1970s.

Like his father, it is said he had a mindset and a resolve to speak forthrightly and work for the cause of the "common" working man.

Michael Peart, speaker of the House of Parliament and member of Parliament for South Manchester, who worked "very closely" with Jones during his time at Alcan, said that he felt he would have become a (trade) "union man" if he had not moved on to fulfil his desires to work in the music industry.

While working at Alcan, Jones began to sharpen his passion for music by compiling his collection of popular records and playing as a disc jockey at a number of local nightclubs in Mandeville. He then moved to the north coast where he played in hotels, nightclubs and took the plunge into the business side of the music industry by becoming co-owner of the Acropolis Nightclub in Ocho Rios from 1993 to1998.

"Seasoned" in his craft, Jones began working for IRIE FM in 1994 and stayed there until his passing.

Amber Crowl, one of Jones' IRIE FM colleagues who gave a tribute of his death said “the news was just as hard for us to accept as it was for you.”

Crowl said that she discovered Jones dead when she was asked to check on him — the first time that he was absent from work at the radio station.

She added: "He was a man who dedicated the most of his adult years to the promotion, production, presentation, and preservation of Jamaican music. Everyone knows that Mighty Mike didn't play 'any and any' music on the radio and prior to his radio life he upheld the same standard as a sound system selector."

Crowl said that Jones helped to shape the "identity and status" of IRIE FM and a gap has been left in the heart of the IRIE FM family.

Evan Hewitt, another IRIE FM colleague who knew Jones from his youthful days in Mandeville, regarded him as a "leader" because of the principles for which he stood, his ability to inspire and motivate others into action and his vision.

"Despite the love for his craft, which had earned him an 'ever expanding" local and international following, it is said that he also longed for the days when he could put the hectic life of the music industry down and return to his family situation in Manchester.

Jones' Bible was found bookmarked at Psalm 31 by his only child Hasani, his youngest sibling Gary and others who rushed to his home upon hearing news of his passing.

Officiating Minister Reverend Oliver Daley, in his message, said that the book of Psalms is where human beings in their struggle are talking to God.

"There are times in life when we get to that place where we need someone else. I pray that his last words were words of comfort, assurance and peace," he told the congregation. "Mighty Mike" was interred at the Melrose Cemetery in Williamsfield, Manchester.

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