Thursday, March 11, 2004

'Moose' Jones spun tales of old Newport

Former officer guarded JFK

By Chris Mayhew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NEWPORT - As a detective who worked the streets and later as a bar owner who told the stories of old Newport, Kenneth "Moose" Jones was sought out for his knowledge of the city.

Mr. Jones, a Wilder resident and a retired captain for the Newport Police Department, died Tuesday at St. Elizabeth Hospice in Covington from cancer. He was 75.

His daughter, Debbie Schmitz of Newport, said restaurateur Jeff Ruby brought her father in as a host for the opening of Tropicana at Newport on the Levee. He continued to work two nights a week at the restaurant for atmosphere, Schmitz said.

"If people wanted to hear stories about Newport, which he loved, he could sit and tell you stories about old Newport for hours," his daughter said.

Mr. Jones served 22 years as a police officer for Newport, beginning in 1951 in the juvenile division. By 1959 he made detective, and was promoted to captain in 1968.

Schmitz said when President John F. Kennedy came to the area, her father was one of the detectives picked to work with the Secret Service - a fact that always made him proud.

"He truly did believe in the law," Schmitz said. "He liked working the streets of Newport."

After retiring from the force in 1972, Mr. Jones worked as the director of security at Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati. At the same time in the early 1970s, he opened his first business, River City Landing, a bar that operated on the site of the Newport Aquarium into the late 1980s.

In the early 1990s, he opened Captain's Cove, a neighborhood tavern on Monmouth Street.

Schmitz said her father was popular with bar customers because of his closing-time ritual.

"People of every age liked him," she said. "Everybody would like to see Moosey ring that horn."

Newport Police Chief Tom Fromme said Mr. Jones was a fun-loving person who was seemingly known by everyone.

Fromme said Mr. Jones worked on a lot of major cases in the city's history.

"I always liked talking to him because he knew the history so well of the city," Fromme said. "He knew the history of the Police Department in particular, and of the city in general."

Other survivors include is his wife, former Newport Assistant Police Chief Joyce Jones; two other daughters, Connie Baynum of Villa Hills and Lynn Mann of Florence; a sister, Carol Haunert of Fort Thomas; a brother, Tom of Bellevue; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home in Newport. A second visitation will be 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. John The Evangelist Anglican Catholic Church, 619 O'Fallon Ave., Dayton, Ky. Burial will be in Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Taylor Mill.


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