Father of Alabama Sen. Doug Jones dies after dementia fight

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Gordon Jones, the father of U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, died last week after a battle with dementia, the senator's office said.

In a statement released through the Alabama chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Jones called his father his “hero.” Gordon Jones, 88, died Dec. 28.

“Dad was my hero in every sense of the word, and he was the strongest person I’ve ever known. He dedicated his life to his family and took pride in his job, working up until he was 80 years old," Jones said. The senator said in a social media post that his father passed away as “my mom, his wife of 70 years, held his hand."

The state's junior senator said that “Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia do not discriminate" and can take a terrible toll on a person and their loved ones.

A steel mill worker who worked his way into management, Gordon Jones worked over 60 years at the U.S. Steel facility in Fairfield, according to his obituary.

An estimated 94,000 Alabamians are living with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alabama chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Jones has sponsored legislation to expand services to younger patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease that are available to older people and to expand public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

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