Margaret C. Jones, 64, of Dover, died Tuesday, July 21, 2009.


    Margaret C. Jones, 64, of Dover, died peacefully Tuesday July 21, 2009, at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital, Dover.

    She was a resident at Chatham Cove in Dover for the past seven years. Her husband of 28 years, Tony Codella, was with her as she finally transcended the breast cancer that beset her four different times over the last 15 years. She died two months shy of her 65th birthday.

    Born Margaret Jane Crowell in Monticello, N.Y., she was the daughter of Mary Julia Toohey Crowell, now of Vestal, N.Y., and the late Robert Spenser.

    Ms. Jones grew up in the Catskills, graduating from Mount Saint Mary’s in Newburgh, N.Y. She moved New York City to attend the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, where she graduated in 1965. She studied with Sanford Meisner, becoming his assistant, Robert Neff Williams, Pearl Lang, Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. She then gravitated to radio and eventually hosted “Women in the Big Apple” and then the top-rated “The Margaret Jones Show” on WYNY-FM from 1978 to 1981.

    She was among the very first to feature what became the HIV epidemic before it had that name or was fully understood.

    For the RKO Radio Network, she hosted, wrote and produced “Ask the Expert” and “Movie Star” and was the alternate co-host on WOR radio’s “Good Afternoon New York” with John R. Gambling. She was a regular substitute for Arlene Francis, Patricia McCann, Joan Hamburg, Sherrye Henry, and Dr. Karen Blaker and also became the arts and entertainment critic both for WOR radio and for the Bucks County, Pa., Courier Times, covering Broadway, off-Broadway and cabaret.

    Ms. Jones’ acting credits include performances for the New York Theatre Ensemble and Theatrical Concepts, both in New York City, and for Theatricks by Starlight in Deposit, N.Y., where she also directed many productions, notably, “Run for Your Wife” and “The Gin Game.” She appeared in several independent films by Bertala Productions, notably “Steamed Dumplings,” wrote several plays, among them “O Holy Knight,” “Busted,” and “Penelope Pringle’s Pet Shop” with the latter two performed by her students at the Fairmount School of the Performing Arts that she founded in Starrucca, Pa., where she moved in 1996. That same year, she won Best in Show in the annual Wayne County Dairy Princess recipe contest.

    Before leaving New York City, she served as an auxiliary police officer for the New York Police Department for 10 years, including six years as a sergeant, at three different Manhattan precincts, winning many citations including one for bravery. She also worked in the early 90s as an undercover investigator for detective agencies hired by Gucci, Rolex, Coach and others to combat counterfeit merchandise. In Pennsylvania, besides her acting school, she started a direct mail business delivering booklets she wrote for tweens and early teens on make-up secrets, good dress and style tips, and comportment & relationship skills.

    Following her move to Dover, she started “Candles by Margaret” and sold her creations through local shops. Margaret also served as a cancer victim mentor, both privately and for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.

    In addition to her mother and husband, Ms. Jones is survived by two stepchildren, Deborah Stuiber of Baltimore, and Marc Codella of Towson, Md., and their children, Tyler and Brendan Stuiber and Jordan and Casey Codella.

    She also is survived by a foster daughter, Stacy Ellis of Collierville, Tenn., and her two children; a brother, Dr. John S. Crowell of Binghamton, N.Y., and his two children, Leslie Crowell of Urbana, Ill., and Scott B. Crowell of Vestal; three cousins, Carl Hartman of Monticello, N.Y., Joanne Remey of Ormand Beach, Fla., and Patty LaPolt of Richmond, Va.

    Following a New Orleans-style funeral, Ms. Jones’ ashes were scattered in the ocean.

    Cremation services were provided by Torbert Funeral Chapels, Dover.

    Memorial contributions on Mrs. Jones’ name may be made to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, the American Cancer Society or to a charity of choice.

    Letters of condolence may be sent to 75 Chatham Court, Dover, DE 19901-3933.