|Birth: ||Aug. 5, 1988|
|Death: ||Mar. 1, 2011|
Son of Joe Phillip Jones and Annie Tillman.
The following obituary is by Rebecca Bennett, published in The Battalion (www.thebatt.com) on Monday, April 4, 2011.
Student, farmer, stranger to few
Tate Phillip Jones was a small town boy whose big, contagious smile was matched only by his big heart. Tate is remembered for the tremendous love he demonstrated throughout his life for agriculture, music and most importantly, his friends and close-knit family.
"He was happy, joyful, smart, handsome, kind … there are too many things to say," said Jurahee Jones, Tate's sister and a 2006 graduate of West Texas A&M University. "He was such a good kid."
Tate graduated as salutatorian from Floydada High School in 2007 before coming to Texas A&M to study agricultural systems management with the aid of several merit-based scholarships. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, uncle and a string of cousins, becoming an official Aggie was a fairly simple decision for Tate.
"Probably since when he was old enough to walk and talk, A&M was his choice," Jurahee said. "All of our family on the Jones' side are Aggies. I don't think he ever wanted to go anywhere else his whole life."
Tate was the linebacker for his high school football team and went on to be an avid member of the Twelfth Man, preparing breakfast for friends at pre-game tailgates and yelling spiritedly for the Aggies at each home game.
"I remember a bunch of our road trips back to school. Any time we pulled back into College Station, we'd have to listen to the Aggie War Hymn just because," said Britnee Brotherton, Tate's life-long best friend, girlfriend of three years and a senior telecommunications media studies major.
Coming to Aggieland also allowed Tate to pursue his life-long passion for agriculture. He grew up on a farm and was heavily involved with FFA (formerly known as Future Farmers of America) and 4H competitions.
"When he was young, his dad farmed pumpkins. So he grew up around it his whole life, so that was always instilled in him," Brotherton said. "He loved being out on the farm. He would go out during the summers and help anyone who needed help. It was a really big part of his entire life."
Tate's interest in farming further nurtured his deep ties with his family, especially his father, Joe Jones, and grandfather, Travis Jones.
"He'd always talk about growing up and riding around the farm in the pickup with his granddad. He really looked up to him," Brotherton said.
At A&M, Tate dove into his studies and pursued an additional research opportunity beginning his freshman year under the leadership of Steve Searcy, professor and interim department head of agricultural engineering. For the entirety of his attendance at the University, Tate worked with other undergraduates, studying uses of biomass for energy and engineering projects for the improvement of handling and processing cotton.
"Tate was a great young man and his loss was a terrible tragedy. I anticipated great things from him," Searcy said. "He was very much interested in the kind of positions he might obtain in the business, providing the food and fiber for our nation. He was very excited about those opportunities."
Tate's peers in the agricultural systems management department are in the preliminary stages of planning a scholarship in his honor, although nothing has been officially organized to date, Searcy said. Tate's passion for agriculture was largely apparent to his friends both at school and back home.
"We both grew up on farms, so we've been together all of our lives. We always talked about wanting to come home and farm with his granddad. So he wanted to continue doing farming for the rest of his life," said Taylor Beedy, a senior agricultural economics major at Texas Tech.
Beedy and Brotherton both said the Jones family is extremely close and were a very positive impact in Tate's life. The Joneses frequently enjoyed summer camping trips together to the Devils and Lano Rivers and Lake Amistad.
"His immediate family is so close. They did everything together. They were one of those families everyone looks at and can't believe they're so close to each other and so perfect," Brotherton said. "Everyone in our community really appreciates them and looks up to them."
Tate's love easily extended beyond those in his family and community. Brotherton said he had a special way of making people feeling welcome and included.
"He didn't know a stranger, that's for sure," she said. "He took his guitar to the homeless shelter. He wanted to reach everyone. He felt he could connect to anyone through is music and he could. Everyone felt a relationship with him."
Tate played music with a band in high school and another band, The Smokin' Aces, in venues around College Station, including famed Aggie drive-in Hullaballoo Diner in Wellborn.
"He'd always bring his guitar [on camping trips], and he'd ask everyone for their favorite song and end up staying up all night playing to make sure he could get everyone's favorite in," Brotherton said.
It is the seemingly small heartfelt acts that left such a big impression on those who knew Tate. His family and friends will continue to grieve their loss and remember his kind spirit.
"He was very loving and full of life and happy and joyful," said Anne Jones, Tate's mother. "Gosh, I can't tell you all the good things about him … it's hard to put it all in words."
Created by: Rajordan
Record added: Apr 05, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67930053
Gone, but not forgotten.|
Added: Apr. 5, 2011