Russell P. Jones (Russ) – September 15, 1981-June 24, 2021

Cary, North Carolina (original source)

In his online profile, Russ defined himself: “I love my wife Morgan & daughters Claren, Aven & Ellis, I do SEO, I’m a twin, a Christian, a Democrat. Black Lives Matter. Romans 12:18”

Russ Jones, age 39, of Cary, North Carolina passed away Thursday, June 24, 2021, at his home. Russ was born in Mobile, Alabama on September 15, 1981.  He grew up with his parents and two brothers in Greenville, NC, and he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African-American Studies.

Family – Family was everything to Russ. He married his high school sweetheart, Morgan Jones and after more than two decades together, he still managed to find new ways small and large to show her the depth of his love.  He devoted his whole being to Morgan and their daughters, Claren, Aven, and Ellis.  He spent countless hours authoring stories and illustrations with Claren, creating new cuisines and recipes with Aven, and dancing and playing the piano with Ellis. Russ knew how to create a special place for each of his girls. As a family they enjoyed swimming, tennis, music, and retreats to the beach.  Simply put, he was the perfect husband and father.

These qualities were both innate to Russ’s character, but also due to the loving home in which he was raised. His mom, Barbara Jones, showed Russ how to see and appreciate the smaller things in life. Harold Jones engrained in the family a sense of commitment and living through Christ. Russ grew up with two brothers and loved each of them dearly. His older brother, Matt Jones, taught him about girls, politics, and pyrotechnics.  Russ shared everything with his identical twin, Scott Jones.  Activities that might have been competitive in other families led to shared sense of celebration: Little League, the Morehead Scholarship, or finding true love so young.

Identical twin – Russ loved being an identical twin, and had the sort of relationship with Scott that comes from knowing someone since before you can remember. Growing up they were often called Russ/Scott as a singular or plural and could sense each other’s needs as reflex. When Scott had appendicitis, Russ knew, and when Russ had croup, Scott felt like he couldn’t breathe.  As the best man at his twin’s wedding, Russ worked on his toast for months, perfecting every word and emotion. He wanted everything for Scott and more. When Scott became a father, Russ’s own beam spread for miles.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Russ was a self-taught data scientist who realized the potential of data science and search before courses were invented to teach others.  Russ created a community where it was safe to ask, challenge, fail, and succeed while building today’s SEO. His nurturing approach, coupled with his own brilliance, earned Russ admiration from an entire industry.

Christian, Democrat and Black Lives Matter –  Russ was a man of God who valued his relationship with the Lord and led his family in worship and song.  Russ embodied the word of God and saw the good in everyone and everything, often challenging others in debate to help them reach new heights that he knew they could conquer. He was an example of Christ to others, even those who lacked faith.

With a degree in Political Science and African American Studies, Russ championed equal rights. He used debate and discussion to raise awareness of inequities and was unyielding in his crusade to make the world better for marginalized groups. 

Especially as he became a father of three girls which inspired him in everything.

Romans 12:18 – Russ was a true friend to everyone he met.  He was never happier than when he was building someone else up, doing someone a favor, lending a needed hand.  He drew people to him and radiated love in all that he did.  The warmth of his touch will be missed in this world by everyone he knew.

Russ is survived by:

  • Morgan Wickizer Jones (spouse) Claren Riley Jones (daughter age 10), Aven Reese Jones (daughter age 8), Ellis Riggs Jones (daughter age 6)
  • Harold Parker Jones (father), Barbara J. Jones (mother), Donna Jones (step-mother), Charles Wickizer (father-in-law), Gail C. Horne (mother-in-law)
  • Matt Jones (brother), Scott Jones (twin), M. Jensen Horne (sister-in-law), Jeremy Bongo (step-brother), Brian Bongo (step-brother), Angela Bongo (step-sister)
  • Silas Jones (nephew), Asa Jones (nephew), Bronwyn Jones (niece), Henry Parker Jones (nephew)

A memorial service for family and close friends will be held at 11am on Thursday, July 1 at Crosspointe Church in Cary.  A virtual live stream will be available through

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Russ’s deepest commitment and greatest treasure, his family. A trust has been established to support the long-term success and needs of his daughters. Immediate donations can be accepted through PayPal @rjonesx.