January 12, 1959 - January 15, 2020
Jon Stuart Jolly, affectionately known as Big Jon to all who were fortunate enough to be a part of his life, sadly left this world prematurely, yet peacefully, on the evening of January 15th, 2020. He had just turned 61 years old three days earlier. As his health failed in recent years, Big Jon was adamant that the one thing he did not want was to die alone. Although his family was unable to arrive in time, Jon was surrounded by many of his good friends in Dallas who loved him as we did. The family could not be more grateful. It is normally improper grammar to us the phrase “most unique” since someone cannot be more than one of a kind; however, that grammatical rule does not apply when describing Big Jon. He was the most unique person that you would ever meet. Jon would characterize himself as a simple man who lived a simple life, but his personality and capacity for love was hardly that. Jon had countless friends, and his devotion to his family was unparalleled.
Jon was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Homewood High School and attended Auburn University (“as best he could,” in his words), before eventually relocating to Dallas, the city he fell in love with. Jon’s family begged him to move back home to Birmingham numerous times, to no avail. Dallas was his home. The things he treasured most about Dallas were the delicious food, the amazing music scene, and his wonderful friends. He was a plumber who lived in a trailer park, but he was extremely well-read and loved dining in the finest restaurants that Dallas had to offer. Music was his true passion, however, and we typically had to work around his concert schedule in order to catch up on what was going on in his life. Big Jon could attend an Elton John concert one night and be found in the middle of a mosh pit the next.
To say that Jon loved his family would be an understatement, especially his nephews and nieces, and the feeling was mutual. From birth to adulthood, Uncle Big Jon was the center of their universe. He made the huge effort to return home to Birmingham at least twice each year for at least 2 weeks at a time, and never missed a graduation or other milestone in their lives. Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday due to the amazing food that his mother would cook, a tradition he carried on after her passing, and the quality time spent with his family. April Fools’ Day was a very close second. That may not actually be classified as a holiday, but it most definitely was to Big Jon. After falling for his pranks one too many times, one learned to be on guard or not answer the phone at any time around April 1. Halloween was also a special occasion, not only because it was his beloved mother’s birthday, but also because Uncle Big Jon would dress up in the scariest of costumes imaginable and take his nephews, nieces, and their friends trick-or-treating, after which he would, of course, collect his percentage of their candy. The kids also learned valuable life skills form their uncle, such as how to effectively cheat at playing Uno without getting caught. It was not uncommon for an extra “Draw four” card to accidentally fall out of Jon’s pocket a time or two.
Jon was preceded in death by his father Donald Jolly, his mother Zaida Seda Jolly, and way too many of his closest friends. He leaves behind the rest of his family who will be lost without his infectious laughter and loving heart: his sister Ladye Franklin (Bo); his brother Alan Courtney; his brother Joe (Rosie), and his sister Teresa Jordan. His nephews and nieces are Sean Jolly; Millie Franklin; Ryan Jolly; Hannah Franklin Trammell (Taylor); Nick Blackwell (Mariah); Robyn Jolly; Jade Jolly; and one great nephew, Franklin Trammell who described his great uncle as “flying higher and higher” now. Jon also leaves behind his four-legged children, who meant everything to him: Mr. French (aka French Fry); Ruger (aka Herr Ruger); Polly (aka Polly Squirrel); and sweet Zazu.
A gathering was held in Jon’s honor on Saturday, January 18th, at Two Guys From Italy in Dallas by his family and all of his wonderful friends. The family also plans to host a celebration of life in Birmingham in the coming weeks. In lieu of flowers, Big Jon would have wanted you to make a donation to organizations close to his heart: the ASPCA (due to his love of animals) or the Deep Ellum Foundation (helping to support the neighborhood and its music culture that brought so much joy to Jon’s life).
Recently when Big Jon felt that his days on this earth might be coming to an end, he said “I’ve lived a good life”. Yes, you sure did. Thank you, our brother/uncle/friend, for making all our lives so spectacular. We were blessed simply to have known you at all!
A Signature Service under the direction of:
Aria Cremation Service & Funeral Home
10116 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, Texas 75238