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In Memoriam: Ron “Bear” Jones, 67

PLSN Staff • News • December 2, 2020

Ron “Bear” Jones, 1953-2020

NORTONVILLE, KY – Ron “Bear” Jones, longtime bus driver for Hemphill Brothers, died Dec. 2. The company cited complications due to the Covid-19 virus as the cause. He succumbed to the illness at Baptist Health in Madisonville, KY. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, and spending time with his family. He is survived by two sisters. Private funeral services were held at the Barnett Strother Funeral Home in Madisonville, KY. Hemphill Brothers also held a memorial service at company headquarters in Bear’s honor on Dec. 14.

More info from Hemphill Brothers (

Tn. – From our brother Mark @ Hemphill: Hi-I wanted to inform you that Ron “Bear” Jones passed away early this morning on Dec. 2nd  from complications due to the COVID-19 virus. He was already dealing with some other health issues, but the virus brought on pneumonia and then his other issues became worse. He was in the hospital and on a respirator for less than three days and his condition continued to worsen.

Everyone here at Hemphill Brothers is shocked, devastated, and grieving the loss. Bear started with Hemphill Brothers back in 1982 and helped to build this company to be what it is today. He was our most senior driver – not in age, but in seniority. For so many years, Bear was our most requested artist driver. The list is far too long to start dropping names, but the most notable name was probably Gloria Estefan. He drove her back in the late ‘80s and 90’s. In more recent years, he drove a lot of crew buses, but would still switch over to the A/B side when Paul McCartney toured. (most recently in 2019) Bear was kind and would give anyone the shirt off his back. He was loved and respected by everyone who knew him.

Personally, back when I was also a driver, I toured with Bear for many years. He will be missed by so many people in the touring industry and by everyone at Hemphill Brothers. Most especially, by me. This message is going out to a long list of touring industry people. I know this list will only scratch the surface, and that I’m forgetting to include many names, so please forward it along to others you think may want to know. Thanks – Mark.



Hemphill Brothers can be found at

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