Andrew Lee Jones was born on January 11, 1975 in Hong Kong to Howard E (Buddy) and Carolyn Cross Jones. Lee spent most of his life in the metropolitan Kansas City area and died on December 6, 2022 at age 47 from Alzheimer’s disease.
Lee was an alter server in his youth at Cure of Ars Catholic Church. He later became a Sacristan, Eucharistic Minister, and 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Thomas More Catholic Church and after his move to his condo near the Plaza, he was a Eucharistic Minister at Visitation Catholic Church. He was active in the SPRED program and City on a Hill Community.
Lee happened to have Down syndrome along with many other great characteristics. With special thanks to the eighty-five volunteers who helped, Lee participated in a research program of intensive early stimulation for the first five years of his life. He graduated from Shawnee Mission North HS in 1995 where he was elected Northman. He received his BA degree in Recreation with a minor in Theatre in 2000 from Graceland University in Iowa where he was elected Homecoming King.
His work career included teaching life skills to people with disabilities in Arkansas, being a certified personal trainer and fitness attendant at Red Bridge YMCA, leading a group fitness exercise class for 10 years at Sylvester Powell Jr Community Center, doing administrative work at Wagstaff & Cartmell Law Offices and working at the Kauffman Foundation for thirteen years. He also volunteered at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
After giving a keynote address at the National Down Syndrome Annual Conference in 2002 on setting and achieving goals, he was invited to speak at many local, state and national conferences. One of his most important speeches was one given with two friends to over two thousand genetic counselors at the National Society of Genetic Counselors conference in Los Angeles. They demonstrated through their life experiences that people with Down syndrome have value, contribute to society and should be allowed to be born. They received a standing ovation.
Lee was a former board member of the National Down Syndrome Congress and Community of the Good Shepard. He received the NDSS Community Award from the National Down Syndrome Society and the Outstanding Citizen Award from the National Down Syndrome Congress along with scholarships from the Down Syndrome Guild of Kansas City to participate in two Buddy Walks on Washington. He was a member of the National Down Syndrome Self Advocate Council. Lee’s accomplishments exceeded all expectations. His caring attitude, compassion and courage were constantly visible.
Lee enjoyed scuba diving, golfing, dancing, socializing, and watching the Razorbacks, Chiefs, Royals and scary movies at Halloween. Most of all, he loved spending time with family and friends.
Lee is survived by his parents Buddy and Carolyn Jones of Heber Springs, AR, aunts Connie Cross Avery and Betty Kay Hampton, uncle Carl Cross (Elizabeth) and cousins Sarah Beth Avery, Carlee Avery Carbone (Ian), Jennifer Waters (Ryan), Mark Gillihan, Shannon Gay, Kasey Robinson (Stacey) and many other family members and friends.
Lee was preceded in death by his grandparents Carl Lee and Christine (Dyson) Cross and Howard E. and Clementina (Garrich) Jones Sr. all of Newport, Arkansas.
A Memorial Mass to celebrate Lee’s life will be offered at 4:00 PM on Thursday, December 15th at Visitation Catholic Church, 5141 Main, Kansas City, MO 64112.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Knights of Columbus at Visitation Catholic Church, 5141 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64112, or the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (Down Syndrome Program), 4350 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mail Stop 6002, Fairway, KS 66205