On Thursday, Oct. 16, I received the type of e-mail we all dread getting:
Thank you for your continuous prayers and outpouring of love. They have been a constant source of encouragement and blessings to our family and business during this time. At 4 p.m., October 16, 2008, Charles Edward "Tremendous" Jones triumphantly entered the gates of Heaven. With family at his side, we could only imagine the joy that he experienced and who he greeted first!
About six weeks earlier, I had called Tremendous and asked if I could visit with him. He graciously agreed to my request, but only on one condition: While visiting, I would read passages to him from books he would select for me. I agreed and spent several wonderful hours with Charlie; the last time I would have that opportunity. The books that he selected for me to read were from some of his favorite authors: Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest); Eugene Peterson (The Message: The New Testament in Contemporary Language); Charles H. Spurgeon (My Conversion); and Richard C. Halverson (Perspective Devotional Thoughts for Men).
Charlie was truly eager to be with Jesus and delighted that his journey would be one he had been preparing for all his life. It was indeed humbling to be there with Charlie and to have him encourage me and provide inspirational thoughts and enthusiastic commentary while he was preparing for his own journey. He never stopped motivating.
I first met Charles T. Jones by accident back in 1969 when he was speaking in Bethlehem, Pa., to a community group. A friend of mine had tickets to attend and asked if I wanted to go. From the promotion - Charles "Tremendous" Jones - I wondered if he was a motivational speaker or a professional wrestler. Well, his presentation proved he was a bit of both. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we got there late and had to sit up front. For those of you who have ever been to a Tremendous Jones presentation, the front row is not the place to be. Following that evening's talk, I was filled with enthusiasm, motivation - and black and blue marks on my arm.
At the back of the room was a table with - what else - books. I bought my first "Tremendous Starter Kit" and that day began a love affair with books. "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear," goes the saying, and obviously I was ready to hear the message Charlie Jones was talking about that evening.
The books I purchased included Life Is Tremendous. During the course of my 46 years of practice, I have given away thousands of books, but not Life Is Tremendous. It allows you to laugh at yourself, pray for solutions to problems, and learn to establish the basic fundamentals of success as a person.
I often told Charlie books are the "silver" of the mind. If left on the shelf, they tarnish, but if read, they allow your mind the glitter of new ideas and the shine of a renewed motivation to solve challenges of life and success. When a book is experienced and then shared, the benefits are twofold: first to the receiver in new knowledge and attitude, and second to the giver in knowing they have touched a person's life forever. Charlie's book encourages laughter and promotes an introspection of one's attitude. It is perhaps best summed up in the words of Victor Hugo: "I like the laughter that opens the lips and heart, that shows at the same time pearls and the soul."
Charlie T. Jones was a huge proponent of chiropractic. His bear hugs resembled an unintentional full-spine adjustment. I know Charlie is with the Lord, as he often spoke of his love and devotion, and his incredible enthusiasm for books can be summed up with the phrase with which he ended most of his programs. "You are the same person today you'll be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read." And so, as we say goodbye to a friend of the profession, I honor him with this tribute to our 40-year friendship and the lasting impression he left upon me:
From the very first time we ever met
You left an impression I will never forget
A great big hug, a tremendous squeeze
Down deep you knew it would surely please
You motivated with your leadership laws
Your philosophy of life, minus the flaws
You were a pick-me-up when things are tough
I have read your books when the road was rough
It is a joy to have known you over the years
You speak a message of faith with none of the fears
My life has been enriched and I make no bones
Since the first time I met, Mr. Charles T. Jones
Goodbye Charlie. The world will miss you, Heaven will greet you, and the folks you are with will have an eternity to read all the books you recommend.
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