Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 6, 1972
Golf Great Bobby Jones Baptized Just Before Death
Famed Golfer Bobby Jones, who died in December at the age of 69, was baptized a Catholic on his deathbed by Msgr. John D. Stapleton, rector of Atlantas Christ the King Cathedral. The usual convert instructions were waived because Jones request for baptism came only a few days before he died. He had not previously been baptized into any other faith.
Msgr. Stapleton credited the fine example of Mrs. Jones, a life-long Catholic, as being a key factor in her husbands conversion. She is the former Mary Malone, a native of Atlanta. She and three children survive. The children have gone through Christ the King School.
Bobby Jones was the only man ever to win golfs Grand Slam, the British and American open and amateur titles, within a single year. He performed the feat in 1930. Afterwards he shocked the sports world by retiring from active competition, at the age of 28, to practice law in Atlanta.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED said of him, Those close to him say Bobby Jones preferred to be called Bob but the diminutive survived through the years because of the warm affection the general public felt for this exceptional man. One of the handful of titans who dominated sports in its so-called Golden Agethe time of Ruth, Dempsey, Tunney and the rest Jones was of a markedly different pattern. In a rowdy, brawling, money-hungry era, he was a quiet, gentlemanly, amateur. Yet no one in sports was more competitive than he, no one more successful None of the others did as much for his sport as Jones What a man he was.
Golf remained a major pre-occupation even after his retirement. He helped to design the Augusta national golf course, with which he was closely associated until his death. He also conceived the idea of the Masters Tournament, one of the four major tournaments in golf.
In 1948 he was stricken with syringomyelia, a chronic and progressive disease of the spinal cord. The week before he died he suffered an aneurysm.