Joseph Bennie Jones, “The Midnight Cowboy,” passed away (age 84) at the Medical Lodge of Dewey, Ok on Friday, June 11, 2021. Joe was born on December 29, 1936, to William Henry “Skeets” Jones and Juanita (Berry) Jones Hopson. Joe grew up in Bartlesville, working alongside his brothers, Harrison, Wilbert and his father in the family-owned café “The Golden Pumpkin” also known as “Skeet’s Place,” which was known for the BBQ and chili.
Joe graduated from Douglas High School in 1956, where he excelled in sports including baseball, football and basketball. Joe was also a caddy at Adams Golf Course and a self-taught golfer. He was the first black man to play at Adams Golf Course and was known to the community as “Tiger Woods” before there was a Tiger Woods. Joe was drafted in to the U.S. Army in 1959, serving until he was honorably discharged in 1961. He continued his service with the Army National Guard for an additional two years after returning home from active duty.
Upon returning to Bartlesville, Joe went to work with Adams Golf Course on the grounds crew until he accepted a position with Bartlesville Gas Company, where he became the first black Supervisor. He continued his employment until his retirement in 1989.
Joe married Josephine Hyche in 1967 and had two children, Dionna Lachion and Joseph Bennie Jr.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Joe became a DJ, spinning records at places like Hat’s, Shady Lane, Pryor Creek, Westside Community Center and numerous private parties – hence the name “The Midnight Cowboy.” Joe’s collection of records is in the thousands.
Joe was also known as a barber and started cutting hair out of his home in the late 1970s and continued until his last hair cut with Rev. Walt Pettiford in late April of this year. His clientele numbered in the thousands over the course of 40 years.
Joe received many awards during his lifetime, including a plaque in 2012 from Washington County for his contribution and support of the construction of the Washington County Jail and in 2013 he was inducted into the Bartlesville Sports Hall of Fame, where he shared that honor with Willy White, Bill Burgess, Venson Cumbey and the rest of the 1955 Douglass Dragons Football Team. They were the first and only all black football team to receive that honor. Joe was an original member of the Douglassaires Association, Westside Community Center and Adams Golf Course.
Joe’s pastimes include refereeing sporting events, photography, cutting hair, golfing, volunteering, driving around town in the “infamous” burgundy suburban to visit a multitude of friends, watching WWE, Gunsmoke, MSNBC, QVC, and HSN. Joe was known as the “Tech Guy” who had the latest and greatest technology and gadgets. We can thank the Home Shopping Network for that!
Joe is survived by his daughter, Dionna Jones and son-in-law Olivia Buckhanon Sr. of Fort Bragg-Raeford, North Carolina; his son, Joseph Bennie Jones Jr. of Houston, Texas; a brother, Harrison Jones of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and two sisters, Ladonna Jones Shaw and Berry Ann Jones Farwell, both of Memphis, Tennessee. He was blessed with three grandchildren, Brandy Jones of Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, Darrius Jones of Muncie, Indiana and Olivia Buckhanon Jr. of Fort Bragg-Raeford, North Carolina. He also leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Wilbert K. Jones and his sister Ora Lee Hopson.
The Jones family would like to extend a very special thank you to Shannon Fox for loving Joe like a father for seven years and caring for him daily during his six months of illness, and to Lisa, Joe’s “Very Special” friend of 30 years