For Jake Mountjoy, public service wasn’t just something he did. It was a way of life.
He served in the United States Navy during WWII, and then as an educator at the Williamsburg Independent School District for 32 years, including the last 12 years when he served as superintendent before retiring on June 30, 1987.
During his time at the school, he served as head basketball coach in 1955, and as assistant football coach. Beginning in 1956 and for the following five years, he was head coach for both the basketball and football teams.
He also found time in his life to raise three children, and be a faithful member of First Baptist Church, the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club, the Sons of the American Revolution and VFW Post 3167.
“He was a WWII vet. He was a giant of a man. He lived a good life, a life of purpose, which is what we all want, a life that means something,” said Williamsburg Independent School Superintendent Dr. Amon Couch. “For me to sit in that seat that he sat in for 12 years is so humbling to me because of what that one man did over the course of 12 years. He was just a larger than life character, who loved this school with everything that he had.”
Jesse Bartlett (Jake) Mountjoy, passed away peacefully on Oct. 11 following a lengthy illness.
His funeral and visitation were held Saturday at First Baptist Church of Williamsburg. A private interment took place after the funeral.
“We lost another great man. He was one of a kind,” noted Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison. “That generation of men are and were just special. They loved life. They loved their country. They loved their state. They loved their town, and would do anything for it. He was a special man.”
Another of Mountjoy’s great loves in life was his wife, Marcella, whom he was married to for 69 years, Harrison said.
Harrison noted that Jake Mountjoy was the superintendent, who hired him as a teacher at Williamsburg Independent School many years ago.
“He took a chance on me,” Harrison said.
Harrison said that Mountjoy’s greatest public achievement would probably have to be construction of the Williamsburg Independent School during his tenure as superintendent.
The gym at the school is named the J.B. Mountjoy Gymnasium in Jake Mountjoy’s honor.
“You just remember people, who go after something because they love it, and not because they just want their name involved in it that to me is the one thing about Mr. Mountjoy,” Harrison said. “He did it because he wanted it to succeed. He didn’t do it just to get his name recognized. He didn’t care.”
He added that having the gym named after him was something that thrilled Mountjoy a great deal.
“Don’t get me wrong that touched him. I remember. I was there while that big deal was going on. It touched him. It moved him but that is not why he set out to do it,” Harrison explained.
“He thought it was time for a new school to be built. He thought it was a way to protect the independence of Williamsburg Independent School and it worked. Enrollment went up. We had a new school. It is still there. That is the bottom line.”
In addition, Mountjoy did a great deal for numerous Little League programs in football and baseball and various other activities.
“He was at everything,” Harrison said.
Couch noted the legacy of the whole Mountjoy family in Williamsburg and especially at the school.
Marcella Mountjoy taught at the school, and previously served as mayor.
Jake and Marcella’s son, Dr. John David Mountjoy, is a former chairman of the Williamsburg Independent Board of Education, and their grandson, John Mountjoy, is currently a teacher at the school.
“That family bleeds orange. You can’t have Williamsburg without the Mountjoy’s,” Couch added.
For complete obituary information, see page B-4 in this week’s edition of the News Journal.