Lehi nurse, Mabel Jones, public health pioneer

Donna Barnes | Lehi Free Press

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Mable Jones was a diminutive woman who was always dressed, in a sparkling white dress, with a nurse’s cap and round-wired glasses. Lehi old-timers remember her in our schools and at public functions that involved sickness, doctors, vaccinations, and anything medical.

Jones, born in 1896 to Horace and Mary Vandybacker Rockwell, was the great-granddaughter of Porter Rockwell, a well-known bodyguard of the Prophet Joseph Smith. She was a legendary figure in her own right. Jones earned her nursing degree and joined with Dr. Fred Worlton’s medical practice in Lehi. For many years, they were the only medical personnel in Lehi. 

Jones earned her one-year certificate in public health and served as a Utah County public health nurse serving primarily in Lehi, American Fork, Cedar Valley, Alpine and for a time in Pleasant Grove and Orem. Her duties included community health, communicable disease control, demonstrating and teaching home care for the sick, dispensing medication under a doctor’s orders, and teaching prenatal classes.  

Jones worked with the Red Cross in teaching home nursing classes in high school and community workshops. She also taught Civil Defense nursing classes. She began her work with the County in 1934 and retired in the early 60s, having taught thousands of people over her years in public service.

Many native Lehi citizens may remember her during the mass vaccination of school-aged students at Lehi Elementary. Jones, along with Dr. Elmo Eddington and Dr. Boyd Larsen, administered a sugar cube coated with a pink vaccine to hundreds of students. That vaccination virtually eliminated Polio, which killed and handicapped many during the 40s and 50s in Lehi.

Mabel Jones was married to W.P. Jones and had one daughter, Audrey. Her passion for providing medical help to many, many people, was only rivaled by her love of flowers. Her favorites were irises. She was a member of the Lehi Garden Club for many years.

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