Elna Violet Allran Jones of Hickory, North Carolina, graduated from high school in 1940. She attended Lenior-Rhyne College in Hickory for one year before beginning training at Charlotte Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. In 1944, Jones joined the Cadet Nurse Corps. She graduated in July 1945 and joined the Army Nurse Corps. She reported to Camp Rucker, Alabama, but World War II ended before she finished basic training.
Jones had committed to a two-year term and was thus assigned briefly to Battey General Hospital in Rome, Georgia, before being transferred to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. She was later stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and assigned to the New York Port of Embarkation, where her duty was to ride on trains transporting wounded soldiers returning from overseas. She was discharged as a first lieutenant in July 1947.
Following World War II, Jones worked as a nurse at Harborview Hospital in Seattle, Washington, before returning to North Carolina in 1955 to work at the Children's Home in Winston-Salem. Five years later, she moved to Greensboro and took a nursing position at Moses Cone Hospital. In April 1973, Jones returned to work at the Children’s Home, while also volunteering at Camp Dogwood summer camp for the blind. In 1977, she went to work for the Greensboro School for the Deaf, where she remained for twenty years.