Donald Harris Pardon Sr., known as J.J. Jeffries 1943-2009
Survivors: Wife, the former Willa Mae Owens; children, Donald Jr. and Monique, both of Cleveland ; four sisters and three grand sons Funeral: 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Thomas G. Smith Funeral Home Arrangements: Thomas Smith Funeral Home
Plain Dealer fileDonald Harris Pardon Sr. Don Pardon was known as J.J. Jeffries, the housewife’s dream, for 10 soft-spoken years on WJMO AM/1300. Pardon died Thursday at the Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center after several years’ struggle with kidney problems. He was 66. The award-winning program director and daytime dj spun jazz, blues, the O’Jays and other favorites, which meant no lyrics flaunting drugs. He broadcast in low light and bobbed his head like Stevie Wonder. He signed off with “light, peace and love.”
“J.J. was extremely personable,” recalled his music director, Charm Warren-Celestine. “He reached out to his listeners.” Pardon, born in Cleveland , graduated from Glenville High School and served with the U.S. Air Force in Michigan. He took pre-law courses and wanted to practice criminal law, but couldn’t afford to continue. So he studied radio at Cuyahoga Community College, earning an associate’s degree.
Pardon caught on at age 28 at WJMO, where a station official coined his on-air name. He worked 12 to 16 hours almost daily, on and off the air, from about 1972 to 1982 Rival DJs began to call him “the lover.” His wife, Willa Mae, sometimes teased him: “Why don’t you bring some of that love home? Pardon left WJMO in 1982 for 10 years with the bigger KSOL FM in San Mateo, Calif.. Then came about six years with KZZO FM in Clovis, N.M.
Among several honors, he got the city keys to San Mateo and an award from a mental health group for promoting their causes. He often spoke at schools and churches, partly against drugs. About 1991, Pardon returned to his native Cleveland to take care of his parents and help relatives remodel homes. He often took his family camping, especially in the redwood forests or at Lake Pymatuning. He liked to tease his two children with talk about Bigfoot with sound effects to match. He kept camping in recent years, even between sessions of dialysis. [source]