Jonesy Retires from Circa 21

January  20, 2014

      One of the best-known "characters" at Circa 21 will be honored Tuesday. The theater is downtown Rock Island will host a retirement party for long-time lobby host Ed Jones.

      Jones retired last month after more than 23 years of greeting patrons, often in costume, as they arrived at the dinner theater. He says after his first week of taking tickets, he got bored, so he began talking more to the customers, and soon decided he should wear a costume too.

      "We did a show called Nunsense, and it has a priest and sisters on stage. And I thought those people on stage  - they're really not Catholic sisters, and that's not really a Catholic priest, so why can't I do that at the front door." 

      And pretty soon, people began to expect it - to see Jones as a nun, or doctor, or something from the current show.

      He's been interested in the theater since he was a child - taking tap dancing lessons and going to shows in Boston where he grew up. Then after summer theater and a job in radio, Jones spent 25 years as a director at WOC television in Davenport. 

      "And I tell people when they read my obituary it's going to say very plainly, that Mr. Jones didn't play golf, he didn't bowl, he didn't fish, he didn't hunt, and he didn't build birdhouses in his basement. All he did was something connected with show business."

      Jones' wife just retired too, and they plan to travel and spend more time with their children.

      His retirement party at Circa 21 runs from 4 until 6 pm, and the public is invited.