A World War II veteran who was the longest-serving lifeguard ever at Jones Beach State Park, working as a lifeguard every summer for 64 years, has died at age 93, Newsday reported.
Reggie Jones Sr., a retired teacher and wrestling coach, died on Jan. 30 in Rockville Centre, family members told the newspaper.
Jones worked every summer at Jones Beach on Long Island from 1944 to 2008.
He passed a running and swimming test every year before missing the cut for lifeguards in 2009, when he was 81. “He never complained and just knew those were the parameters,” said his son Reggie Jones Jr., of Point Lookout, New York.
Jones served in the Navy during World War II and then went on to get bachelor's and master's degrees in education. He taught social studies for 32 years at Garden City Junior High School and also coached the school’s wrestling team for 11 years.
Jones made numerous lifesaving rescues while working as a lifeguard, his son said. “He never really embellished or made it more important than it was,” Jones Jr. said. “He thought he was doing his job. He wasn’t a showoff in that respect and wasn’t searching for hero worship.”