Back to All Posts

Remembering Steve Jones ’76

Our community was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of long-time teacher and alum Stephen (Steve) Jones on May 6, just five months after his retirement from the school.

Mr. Jones moved to Ann Arbor at the age of 4 when his father, The Rev. Gordon Jones became the rector of St. Andrews Church in Ann Arbor. He first crossed the threshold of Greenhills School in September 1971 as a hesitant eighth grader. He previously recalled that the school took some getting used to not only because the dress code required that he wear a coat and tie, but also because the academic work was rigorous and the social scene full of distractions. In time, Mr. Jones found his groove and learned first-hand that at Greenhills he could shine in more than one area, something he later considered one of Greenhills’ traditional strengths.

“I always liked the fact that senior year, I was on a soccer team that went to the state semi-finals, but I also had a significant part in the play ‘Our Town’, and roles in forensics, the yearbook, and the student council,” he said, “I’m not sure I would’ve had the opportunity to feed both sides of my soul – the athletic and the artistic – in the same way at another school.”

After Greenhills, Mr. Jones graduated from Albion College and after working for Shawmut Bank in Boston for four years, he decided to pursue his teaching certificate from the University of Massachusetts.. Soon after, he found his way back to Greenhills where he said he was hired in 1988 to “work in the library and patrol halls at the end of the day.” Within two years, Mr. Jones took on the responsibility of teaching geography and civics, the beginning of a remarkable 31-year run as a teacher of social studies and history. Additionally, a dedicated seventh and eighth grade team leader, he masterfully coordinated the eighth grade week-long trip to Washington, D.C. since its inception and was instrumental in providing thousands of Greenhills students with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and rite of passage. The D.C. trip was a central part of what became known as “the Steve Jones Experience.”

It should be no surprise then, that when Greenhills held a memorial gathering to honor and remember Mr. Jones on May 25, more than 100 attendees filled an outdoor tent to capacity. As a nod to his love of baseball, we enjoyed ballpark franks and fixin’s as we watched a slideshow of photos of Mr. Jones from over the years.

“Steve wasn’t just a fine student, teacher, and human, he was a Greenhills graduate, a Greenhills teacher, and a Greenhills Gryphon,” said Head of School Peter Fayroian to attendees “He loved his students, his colleagues, and his school, and his students, colleagues, and school loved him in return.”

Students, alums, friends, and former and current faculty, including Luanne Booth, Chris Gleason, Ben Cohen, Gary Lehman, Barb Rocci, Julie Smith, and Steve Oestreich shared the stories and fond remembrances of their former colleague.

Others shared their thoughts in notes directly to the school.

“From grade school through graduate school, Mr. Jones was one of the very best teachers I ever had,” wrote Kiff Hamp ‘04. “In fact, in addition to his status, in my book, as one of my favorite and most influential teachers, I would also count him as one of the funniest and most charismatic people I have ever known.

“You simply wanted to be around him, talk to him, and learn from him. Mr. Jones loved Greenhills and his students, and we loved him right back. While he will certainly be missed, the impact he had on decades of students will not soon be forgotten.”

While his considerable attributes were evident as a teacher, Mr. Jones also made a lasting impression on his Greenhills classmates. “My overriding recollection of my Greenhills classmate Steve Jones is how passionate and upbeat he was,” recalled John Greeno ‘76 “Steve cared deeply – about his school, classmates, students, and social issues. I suppose he wore his heart on his sleeve, something I could relate to. He was informed, a student of issues. He was also unfailingly nice to all of us, and a reliably jovial presence in our class. It made me happy to know that Steve continued to be a part of the Greenhills family, passing along his enthusiasm, wit, and commitment to social justice to future generations.”

In honor of Mr. Jones’s love for the theater, and in particular, the play Our Town, friend, and former classmate Kittie Galan ‘76 quoted the play’s character Emily in memorializing her former friend and classmate.

“It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another…Oh, Earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? -every, every minute?”

Kittie responded, “No, we still do not. But our Earth, our town was a bit more wonderful with Stephen Jones in it. Goodbye, friend.”

Greenhills plans to name a classroom in Mr. Jones’s honor. His family has asked that any charitable contributions be made to the Annual Fund for Greenhills, which supports a range of programs, including his beloved annual eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. You may donate online or via check with Annual Fund/Steve Jones in the memo line.

Memories and Reflections

To hear additional memories and reflections, click here to watch the May 25 memorial gathering at Greenhills.

"RIP Mr. Jones you were one of my first teachers at Greenhills and I was lucky enough for you to teach My son 30 years later. We both got to go and enjoy Washington DC with you and listen to all of your stories and discussions. Your teaching style was so different and let us discuss everything that came to us. Gone way too soon."
Stephanie Fletcher '94
Greenhills Parent

"I loved Mr. Jones as a teacher and friend. I still have his phone number from when we went on the DC trip in 8th grade and he gave it out in case of emergency. I loved being scared by those president masks in his room. He was always very nice to everyone and would give us funny hints when we couldn't remember a state capital. One time I saw him at Coney Island. I will miss him."
Emma Galland '18

"I remember Steve helping me first understand the controversy about capital punishment in this conversation during Civics - Q: "Mr. Jones, why are people against capital punishment? I mean, what if they did something really bad?" A: "Well, what if you give them the death penalty and they die. But then later you realize you made a mistake? Whooops? NO, there's no going back - that's why not everyone supports it." [class silently nodding...]
Danny Lee '94 

“I caught up with Steve at Luke Jansen’s memorial service at the school, and this news just seems unfair, and wrong. There are so many great Mr. Jones stories from the class of ’96, but this one still puts a smile on my face. The scene: a crowded elevator at Kennedy Center, on the signature Steve Jones class trip to DC. Somehow, I’d acquired a plastic blue harmonica and was being a typical 8th grader by breathing in & out with said harmonica in my mouth…in a crowded elevator, after a LONG day. Steve politely told me exactly where the harmonica would soon end up if I didn’t stop my impromptu concert in the elevator. We joked about this incident for the next 6 years at school, and I would tease Steve now and again by blowing a few notes in a hallway from time-to-time. He was such a wonderful teacher, an even better guy, and this loss hurts. You will be missed, my friend.”
Jack Bridges '96

“I will forever be grateful to Mr. Jones for helping me realize my potential and encouraging me to reach that potential. After Turning in multiple late and not so great assignments in 8th grade he firmly but kindly called me out on not doing my best. For him to take the time to care and set higher expectations meant the world to me and made me realize I should take advantage of being at a school like Greenhills and learn as much as I could. He was also my 8th grade advisor and I remember our advisory full of lots of laughs and frequent doughnuts. He went out of his way to attend my ballet performances and truly be a support during the difficult middle school years. He was a gem, I will truly miss him. Thank you Mr. Jones for everything and Rest In Peace.”
Liz (Holmes) Spaulding ’95

When I was in 6th grade we visited the 7th grade teachers’ classes as part of the Greenhills School transition process. When we went visit Mr. Jones’ class, upon arrival we were faced with a long and extensive history quiz. None of us were prepared for this quiz and it featured no multiple choice questions. Do remember this is our first impression of growing up at Greenhills and life outside of our safe blue forum of 6th grade. After the stress of this quiz, Mr. Jones said he would tell us overwhelmed students all our answers. He then proceeded to play Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” This was one of those moments when I realized the important part of music in becoming a soundtrack of our lives. Thank you Mr. Jones.”
Kat Dudzik '99

When I hired at GH, Steve was my mentor. To me, he was the face of GH. He was always thoughtful and wise…a true teacher and leader. I also respected his passion for acting. Steve always had an interesting slant on things with a sense of humor. I am so sad at his passing.”
James Horton
Former Greenhills Faculty

“Professor Jones was a kind and enthusiastic teacher. I remember him introducing his course to us parents years ago, and he was one of the reasons why we thought that Greenhills would be a perfect fit for our son Nico. Rest in peace, Professor Jones.”
Paolo Pasquariello
Greenhills Parent

“He was very passionate and he really wanted to see his students succeed.”
Thomas Stoffel
Greenhills Student

Mr Jones was such a passionate, kind and enthusiastic teacher with a great personality and sense of humor. He truly cared about his students, he was always involved with classroom activities and permanently strived to see the children reaching their potential. I will never forget his smile and words of encouragement for my boys. What a bright light you were in my kids life. RIP Mr Jones. We will never forget you.”
Joann Leuciuc
Greenhills Parent

“My overriding recollection of my Greenhills classmate Steve Jones is how passionate and upbeat he was. Steve cared deeply – about his school, classmates, and social issues. I suppose he wore his heart on his sleeve, something I could relate to. He was informed, a student of issues. He was also unfailingly nice to all of us, and a reliably jovial presence in our class. It made me happy to know that Steve continued to be a part of the Greenhills family, passing along his enthusiasm, wit and commitment to social justice to future generations.”
John Greeno '76

“Steve was my “”mentor”” when I went back into teaching after being away for twenty years. He was a perfect mix of helpful and hands off and really eased my transition back into the classroom. He was always up for a good laugh, and great to talk with. I am so thankful that each of my three children had him as their civics teacher – they all cited him as a favorite thing of their 8th grade year. You will be missed my friend.”
Eric Gajar
Greenhills Faculty

“Although I only had Mr. Jones as a teacher for a one-semester government course, he stood out as an earnest lover of the humanities. You could know everything about American history and government, but it would take Mr. Jones’ unique ability to breathe life and importance into past events in order to teach like him. Even if you didn’t have a class with Mr. Jones, you couldn’t deny his presence as a staple of GH. While teachers came and went from Greenhills over the years, Mr. Jones and a select few others remained constant, ensuring that the school would stick to its earliest promises. Thank you for all that you gave.”
Jack DiMarzo '19

“Steve was a treasured colleague; he and I shared the teaching of a public speaking unit in his eighth grade civics classes. As he watched his students deliver persuasive speeches where they took a stand on societal issues like raising the minimum wage or providing universal health care, he was visibly proud of them. It was always a pleasure to work with Steve.”
Barbara Ebeling
Former Greenhills Faculty

I had Mr. Jones for two years and as I knew him as a teacher I know many that thought of his as a friend. It was very easy to mistake a teacher as happy as Mr. Jones was as a close friend. He always made class such an amazing experience and a place that would invite the most fun out of my day. He was a teacher who was so passionate about not only history but making sure his students could love it as much as he did. He will be very much missed.”
Jack Mikhail '21

“Steve was a devoted and steady fixture for the whole of Greenhills middle school, and the consummate anchor man for the division. His wry sense of humor, his affable manner, and his willingness to respond to each precocious child offered him generations of adoring fans. Always up for some baseball banter, a walk down Greenhills memory lane (especially all those DC trips!), or a cup of coffee in the Forum before the masses arrived, Steve’s legacy will linger within Greenhills’ hallowed cinderblock walls.”
Jamey Hein
Former Greenhills Head of Middle School

“Mr. Jones’ passion for the social sciences has proved to be a driving force in my life. His 8th grade civics class helped me develop strong analytical skills but it was really his tolerance for unstructured discussions that was life changing. I remember many class periods were free-flowing and allowed our class to dive deep into the things we were interested in, all while learning to effectively articulate our views and opinions to our classmates. I’ll always be thankful for his ability to guide thoughtful conversations.”
Gabe Linderman '16

“Mr. Jones was an amazing teacher who always brought his personality to the classroom. I still have vivid memories of his love for puns and how he always would remember his past students in the hallways and say hello. I am grateful for the impact he had on my early life at Greenhills, and for the passion he clearly put into his teaching.”
Juliano Stewart '14

“Steve was an inspired teacher: He truly created an experience in his classroom for his students that was incomparable. His knowledge of law, government and politics was legend, but it was the “experience” of being in his class that students loved. He had the gift of being able to bring kids into his nerdy world of Supreme Court cases, etc., that opened up the world for them in long-lasting ways. He created many devoted future poly-sci majors and countless politicians and lawyers with the magic of “the Steve Jones Experience.””
Rebecca Randolph
Greenhills Faculty

“Mr. Jones in our 8th grade civics class really was what really got me interested in the functions of government and our political system. Although it has been nearly 3 years since my last class with him and I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast, I’ll never forget his love for history and the way it showed through his teachings.”
Ryan Wang
Greenhills Student

“No one in my experience has been more devoted to Greenhills School than Steve Jones. As a senior in 1975-76, my first year there, he was exceptionally positive, loyal, supportive yet fun-loving. After Dave McDowell so wisely appointed him to the faculty in 1988, Steve provided the warmest, most uplifting greeting whenever my wife and I returned. Trying to come to terms with his loss the other day, I found myself wondering how it was that he acquired these qualities. Then I remembered his parents . . . and I knew.”
Jim Gramentine
Former Greenhills Head of School

“My world has grown quieter knowing Steve’s not in it. I spent a decade while teaching at Greenhills hearing him chime in with that hearty laugh and those witty witticisms. We shared a lot of banter on many ends-of-the-week meetings at Casey’s, over a basket (okay, two) of fries and fried artichoke hearts, washed down with this brew or that from Bell’s or Leinenkugel. We joked about the Milton I was teaching, Steve quoting from Animal House so we might share a laugh: “I find Milton boring. Mrs. Milton found him boring. He’s a bit long-winded. And his jokes don’t translate very well.” We smiled together when talking about students and learning during admin team meetings, when middle school team leaders and high school principles gathered for conversation. And now, it’s hard to believe that the regular Facebook posts have been silenced. I have my memories of my friend. But I miss him: I do; I will.”
Steve Kahn
Former Greenhills Faculty

“He was literally one of my favorite teachers of all time, and I will severely miss his 7th grade history class – I forgive him for losing my test at Applebees, (I think I got a bad score on it anyway…). Then again he was helping a lady to her car, so it was for a good cause. I remember in 8th grade he came in as a substitute the day we had a test I forgot to study for while Ms. Vane was absent, and unknowingly saved my grade because the test was postponed for the day after instead, and I was able to efficiently study for it in advance. It was also very entertaining to see him, without fail, discover Xiomara Brammer-Gonzales sketching discretely in the back of the class. I will miss him a lot.”
Lilith Moellering
Greenhills Student

“Mr. Jones was one of my favorite teachers in middle school, who I had for 7th grade History and 8th grade Civics. I’ll always remember him for his sly wit – he’d try to deliver his jokes in a barely-contained deadpan expression, but that good-natured smile would still be struggling to break through along with a chuckle! In addition to his sense of humor, there was always his genuine love and enthusiasm for civics and talking about government and the political process. He spoke with such joy of pulling the lever to make the “cha-chink” sound on the old-fashioned voting machine in his district, and how he used to giddily camp out in a tent in his yard for election night, eagerly listening to the results on the radio. Even to this day, whenever November rolls around on an election year, I can’t help but think of Mr. Jones, his stories, and his classes.”
Zaid Alawi '04

“I remember vividly, when our oldest child Jack was an 8th grader, being profoundly moved by Steve’s curriculum night presentation about Civics. His passion for the subject and teaching was so evident and was felt by all of the fortunate parents in the room. I was so grateful that our child was at Greenhills and had him as a teacher.”
Heidi Butz
Greenhills Faculty

“Both my husband and I (98’ and 99’) had Mr. Jones for our advisory teacher. What I remember most about Mr. Jones was his warm heart and kind eyes. He always felt completely approachable and like someone who would have your back if you ever needed it. We will remember him fondly.”
Cara Rosaen '99

“I’m so sorry to hear of Mr. Jones’ passing. He has always been one of my favorite Greenhills teachers- so approachable, funny, and kind. He taught our 7th grade geography class the words to “Hey Jude” and I think of him every time I hear that song! He will be greatly missed.”
Lauren Muskovitz '97

“From grade school through graduate school, Mr. Jones was one of the very best teachers I ever had. His passion for American history and civics was obvious in both the knowledge and joy that he brought to the classroom each day. As my first history and government teacher (having had him for American history in 7th grade and Civics in 8th), I credit him as one of the driving people behind my future education and career path — becoming a history major in college, studying public policy, government, and law in graduate school, and having worked in the policy and political sphere since completing my education. Not only did he teach in a way that made history clear, digestible, and interesting to young middle school students, perhaps even more importantly, he made it fun. In fact, in addition to his status in my book as one of my favorite and most influential teachers, I would also count him as one of the funniest and most charismatic people I have ever known. You simply wanted to be around him, talk to him, and learn from him. Mr. Jones loved Greenhills and his students, and we loved him right back. While he will certainly be missed, the impact he had on decades of students will not soon be forgotten.”
Kiff Hamp '04

During my 7 years at Greenhills, I knew Mr. Jones exclusively as my 7th grade History teacher, but in the years (two decades already!) since I graduated, we’d connected through Facebook and kept in touch regularly online. Having become a middle school teacher myself, we often “talked shop,” fostering the sort of collegial kinship that those of us who teach middle school know all about — shared laughs at stories about the extent to which we’d let the silliness go in the classroom this day, then kindhearted comments of support another day as we read one another’s stories of how a single day sometimes felt like a month, etc. I recall as a 7th grader that he was gracious when I called him at his home on a Sunday after I tried each “Stephen Jones” in the phone book — just to ask about a simple homework assignment — and he assigned me the 1960s as my decade to study and create a float that would be displayed in the library. I recall being fascinated when he told us that he’d gone to Greenhills as a student and had Mr. Blow as a teacher, and I fondly recall when he and our class spontaneously burst out into song one day, singing the Friends theme song. I like to think that I am the teacher I am today partially because of his influence as one of my own fantastic teachers from my time at Greenhills. I will miss his friendship, though I imagine he’s pleased as punch to be reunited with his beloved Cardiff in Heaven.”
Garrison Dyer '01

“Mr. Jones was my first teacher at Greenhills. I arrived at the school in 8th grade, which put me far behind my fellow classmates and inflicted apprehension about my first day of school. My first class on my first day was Mr. Jones’ Civics class. It has been about 10 years since that day, but I still remember the first question that I ever got asked at GH by Mr. Jones that day. He asked me what the capital of Vermont was. Since I was behind in the curriculum, I panicked because I did not know. Instead of labeling me ignorant or just telling me the answer, Mr. Jones walked me through climbing mountains and peeling oranges so that I would arrive at it myself. I will never for the rest of my life forget that the capital of Vermont is Montpelier because of him. This story just goes to show how passionate and talented Mr. Jones was as a teacher. He managed to make me feel comfortable speaking up in class even when I didnt have the right answer and I carried that ability with me through the rest of high school and into my college classes and the University of Michigan. He taught me a lot that year and I will never forget that impact he had on me.”
Phoebe Sotiroff '17

“As youngish faculty members, Steve and I and others, including Lisa LoCicero, used to gather on Fridays after work. Steve was a constant source of good cheer, optimism, camaraderie and wicked good humor. He was the ideal teacher: he loved the subject he taught and the students he taught. I relish my years as a teacher at Greenhills, and especially my final spring, when I joined Steve for the 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2001. His commitment to students and to American democracy — and to compassion (a child sliced off the tip of his finger on the trip!) — was unwavering. Should anyone want to hear my recollection of Steve encountering Strom Thurmond on that trip, I’m happy to recount it! When I left Michigan for the East Coast, Steve sent me off with a novel by an author from his home town of Boston — a tribute to his roots and my love for fiction. He was a man of true gentleness and of commitment to both his students and to Greenhills. I am so very sorry that he has gone.”
Katherine Bradley
Former Greenhills Faculty

“It’s hard to narrow down how much Steve has impacted my life into a brief reflection. I have a lot of memories about Steve. I’ve worked with him for 20 years, we’ve discussed Hoops for Hunger, traveled on 8th grade DC trips, presented the Geography Bee together, had coffees at Sweetwater’s and appetizers afterschool. He’s taught my children and got them to love Animal Farm (which they still reference today). It will be impossible to walk past his classroom and not hear him calling me into his class, to get my opinion on a subject he’s teaching to his students. For a short time, we shared his classroom and I loved getting to the room early so we could just sit and talk. I would tease him about how messy his desk was but he was somehow always able to find what he needed when he needed it. I will miss him talking about politics, or baseball or any number of current events. I will miss how easy he was to talk too, how he never judged, and how he never interrupted. I will miss his gentleness and wit. He was one of a kind and I will always smile when I think of him.”
Nadine Hall
Greenhills Faculty

“Steve Jones. Mr. Jones was my 7th grade advisor. Everyday after school, for 30 minutes, I would go to his room for C&C and mess around a LOT. He never got mad at us, even when we dropped a whole jar of pens, or covered his white-board with drawing of random figures. He never got upset. I wish I would never have to write this letter about Mr. Jones; or anyone that is. Mr. Jones’s room has carried and still carries countless of my happiest memories from 7th grade. He was a kind, understanding, and brilliant man and teacher. I think the most memorable thought with Mr. Jones for me personally was that one afternoon in C&C, I asked Mr. Jones a question that I remember I had been dragging around with me for what felt like ages. Though I do not precisely remember his answer, I remember the sense of relief and calmness his response brought me. He had a genuine tone when he spoke; which was unique to him. He had a lot of experience which shone through. He was an amazing man, and I wish is family peace and healing.”
Sara Rauofi
Greenhills Student

“Steve was such a great teacher…he was funny, engaged, passionate about politics and current events, and somehow able to keep sometimes squirrelly middle school students on task. No small feat! I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. One thing I really enjoyed about Steve was his sense of humor…a little sarcasm and wit is always welcome as a parent of a middle schooler. He had a great smile and laugh, and seemed to be able to take teaching middle schoolers in stride. He will most certainly be missed.”
Chris Gajar
Greenhills Alumni Parent

“I want to thank Mr. Jones for inspiring a love of civics, politics and American history. In my professional career as a news editor, I’ve always been most passionate about covering campaigns and elections, and I can trace those origins back to Mr. Jones’s seventh-grade class. It was full of jokes and pranks, but it was also the beginning of a lifelong journey. Thank you, Mr. Jones!”
Jonathan Ellis '02

My wife Krystal worked at GH while our kids attended. She battled cancer her whole time there and she would come home and tell stories about how Steve would make her laugh and smile every day. When she passed, Steve would say things to me over the next few months that made me laugh and smile. Thank you Mr. Jones”
Gary Heitman
Greenhills Alumni Parent

Mr. Jones was my seventh grade history teacher and I just remember how much fun we had in that class. Everyday was something new to learn about, and not just about American history. I remember that one day, Mr. Jones took the time to talk to us about what Greenhills was like back when he went there. Another day he tried on the masks that he had displayed in his classroom of a few presidents. He made jokes to help us remember the state capitals. There was always something to laugh about and enjoy in that class. And for this, I am so grateful that he was my teacher.”
Silvia Abbasi
Greenhills Student

Hey, Steve. I hope that hearing what everyone had to say about you yesterday gives you some peace and happiness. It’s only too bad that you were not here with us so that we could celebrate you and your accomplishments in person! It was wonderful to see all the pictures of you and also more wonderful to hear all of the memories and stories that colleagues, friends, and students shared. After the memorial, Kevin Olson and I walked past your room. It was the first time I had set foot in GH since last June. It was very eery not seeing you in your room. I will always value your friendship, kindness, and gentle soul. Rest in peace, dear friend, and have fun with those who are up there with you! Much love, Elaine”
Elaine Moffat
Former Greenhills Faculty

I got my start at Greenhills in part because of Steve Jones. I was the fortunate substitute teacher who got to manage his classes over 15 years ago when he was recovering from the stubborn bout of hiccups. More importantly, I am thankful to have been a colleague of Steve’s for the past 16 years. His love of the school and its greater community were always foremost in his mind. Above all I will remember him for his devotion to teaching Civics and American history. His pride in the promise of our country and also his deep felt sadness when we as a nation fell short says a lot about Steve. He was a thinker but also a kind soul with a big heart. I will certainly miss him, his sense of humor, and the help finishing those end -of-the-week crossword puzzles.”
Amanda Harper
Greenhills Faculty

“Steve was a member of my very first class at Greenhills. His history teacher had left (he married one of his students over spring break–a story Steve later loved to recall!) and I finished out the 1972 year.with a remarkable group of 7th graders–one of whom was Steve. Greenhills was such a good fit for him–he was quiet and rather shy, but the small classes and personal attention allowed him to grow in confidence. He might struggle with math, but he would thrive in history and government.He would also find his voice in theatrical productions and of course, that would continue into his adult years with productions at St. Andrew’s with Nancy Heusel. Steve was in my 10th grade World History class and later in Russian Studies and I believe in Asian Studies as well. It was in those years that he became famous for his puns and plays on words–all of which would bring a smile to my face! His clever remarks and quick witticisms also would carry on into his adulthood. Steve’s class was truly memorable–lively, bright, fun, and friendly with each other. Steve made several life long friendships –I remember Vic Turner being one of them. When Steve returned to Greenhills to begin his teaching career, our relationship changed–from student to colleague. But he was always a special colleague–perhaps because he had been a former student but now he also became a friend. I admired his passion for teaching government (civics) and for his efforts to make the Washington DC trip a memorable event for his 8th grade students. Steve contributed to making the history department a success and was always willing to support department policies and other members. As department chair I always knew I could count on his support. Steve became a trusted friend and confident–when issues arose which bothered me, I often found myself sitting down quietly with Steve in his classroom talking things over knowing that he would truly listen . And so I say goodbye to my special student, colleague and trusted friend and confidant. I will miss you but remember you ever so fondly.”
Orelia S. Dann
Former Greenhills Faculty

“Steve always addressed me as “”Mr. Tobin.”” I don’t think he intended this salutation to mark the significant difference in our ages, though that was certainly the case — a difference which now, alas, increases — but instead to suggest his characteristically ironic acknowledgement of our shared enterprise as long-term Greenhills teachers, his tenure including, as mine does not, the fact that he was a graduate of the school. He knew that being a member of the Greenhills faculty was both complicated and in the end eminently satisfying. Knowing that too, , when he addressed me as “”Mr. Tobin,”” I would invariably respond, “”Yes, Mr. Jones?”” The interchange suggested a shared knowledge. Steve loved baseball, as many will attest. A big fan of the big club, he was also, characteristically, a devotee of the enterprises of the minor league club to our south, the Mud Hens, whose moniker surely appealed to him. Appropriately he also played for the Greenhills entrant in the Ann Arbor co-ed recreational softball team, the Lawnmowers. I imagine that he was grateful that this team name, apparently an original candidate for Greenhills athletic teams in general, didn’t make it to finalist status, if at the same time he was a proud Lawnmower.. He was surely a proud Gryphon. Steve taught two of our three children, and our eldest, a fellow Greenhills graduate, became his colleague. Our kids report the utter engagement he displayed in the classroom, his down-to-earth style, his obvious compassion — and the fact that his humor allowed our youngest to actually remember, to this day, important elements of American history. I won’t comment here on Steve’s major theatre involvements or his fundamental relationship with St. Andrews, crucial to his life though they were, as others are much better positioned to do that. But I will attest to the his importance in the life of Greenhills School, and in our lives. Farewell — and fare well, Mr. Jones.”
Dick Tobin
Former Greenhills Faculty

I have delayed submitting anything until the last minute, because I cannot countenance the sense of finality that it entails. It is difficult to find words and phrases that make sense. A string of memories and feelings, free-form and ungrammatical, may be all I can articulate. Steve (along with Orelia Dann) was my official mentor at Greenhills when I arrived there in 2001 for what would be more than 17 years of enjoyable teaching with Steve and deep, close friendship that I cherished. It was not long into my tenure at Greenhills before Steve was the dear friend I will so much miss. It is painful to think I won’t experience his inimitable punning, clever, occasionally ribald, always hilarious. With a heart so kind and generous, Steve was ready to laugh. Steve loved his students, his subject matter, Greenhills, his church community, his friends, and he devoted all his energy to them. After a particularly arduous week at work, Steve confessed to some of us, on that following Monday, that his Friday night dinner, unusual as it was, pleased him immensely: a draught of his favorite Dewar’s and tater-tots! When we all needed a lift in our spirits after a tough day, we would proclaim to Steve that we just might have a try at that Friday-night fare. Pleasant chats over a Dewar’s at Knight’s (or “the Apple Orchard”); “I’ve eaten many of your kind, Ms. Rocci”; feeling so comfortable with his fellow Washington, DC chaperones (and probably exhausted, too), Steve not only took off his shoes at the hotel restaurant, but started on his socks; visiting me and my folks here in New England in August one year with some other dear Greenhills friends, Steve sitting out on our patio on those glorious summer mornings reading The Boston Globe and chatting with my late Dad and me. There are too many memories, all of them wonderful. I am so fortunate that Steve was a friend—a good friend, a dear friend. I will try to temper my grief with the knowledge that Steve can be eternally happy where he is now—and his spirit will continue to bless all of us here.”
Michael Powers
Former Greenhills Faculty

“I still remember the song from Animal Farm that we sang with Mr. Jones in 8th grade Civics! I appreciated his enthusiasm in the classroom and it was always enjoyable to talk with him when visiting Greenhills as an alum.”
Miranda Dershimer '10

“As a 7th grade English teacher, I worked with Steve for many years and enjoyed sharing laughs, frustrations, and stories with him throughout my time. His sense of humor and quick wit were a joy. I always appreciated his passion for his subject and for teaching. He is deeply missed.”
Peggy Hubbard
Greenhills Faculty

“Smart, funny, willing to consider and learn from different viewpoints; I’ll miss having conversations about Civics, Baseball, The West Wing, and Religion with my Friend.”
Ruth Miller
Former Greenhills Faculty

“Steve was such a welcoming presence when I first arrived at Greenhills. As a team leader, he was a source of huge amounts of information, keeping me on track and providing a behind the scenes perspective that helped me to understand the context of the different and various events associated with Greenhills. I can see the twinkle in his eye when he had something he wanted to share (usually a funny story). He was so passionate about our school. It was always easy to know where Steve stood on things. He felt big feelings and made his views known, but also took the time to hear others out. Steve was a thoughtful and caring human being, a trusted colleague and friend, and I will miss him dearly.”
Scott Benke
Greenhills Faculty

“I taught with Steve for about a dozen years, from 1996 to 2009 (I taught high school math). I moved to the DC area and always thought I’d manage to make it into DC one time when the 8th grade was visiting to say hi and catch up, but never did. I was grateful to keep up with Steve via his Facebook posts in recent years. I’ll remember his love of puns, the sly smile on his face while he paused half a beat to see if you “got” his joke, and his absolute love of and belief in Greenhills through good times and challenging ones. Few people can successfully handle middle school students, and Steve was one of them. To Steve’s family, both biological and Greenhillian – I am so sorry for your loss. Steve will be missed greatly.”
Lillian Van Rompay
Former Greenhills Faculty

“Among Steve’s many passions when we were students was a love of the music, much of it from the 60s and 70s, from artists that sought to reach our hearts and minds as well as our bodies, to build our connectedness and our empathy. John Lennon stands out as one such working class hero of ours — obviously a hero with feet of clay, but someone standing up for a vision of a stronger, loving world. Since then, I can’t think of the music of John Lennon and not think of Steve and our dialogues about it. “Why in the world are we here?/Surely not to live in pain and fear…” Shine on, brother.”
David Quinn '78

“I remember Mr. Jones from my 8th grade year at Greenhills. He was a very kind leader and was exceptionally memorable on our trip to Washington DC. I really wish I got to know him better. May he rest in peace.”
Milin Macha '20

“Mr. Jones, You taught me so much. From introducing me to 1776 and establishing study habits that have taken me through grad school. Thank you. Your Facebook posts. I will always regret delaying reaching back out. Thank you for that final lesson on tomorrow’s never guaranteed and people are the most important. May you Rest In Peace with your loved ones and friends with the knowledge of how many lives were enriched for you being in it and how missed you are.”
Anonymous

Saturday, April 24
COVID VACCINATION CLINIC AT GREENHILLS
Open to anyone ages 16 and up. Limited quantities available.
LEARN MORE AND REGISTER
close-link