Former Rep. Paul C. Jones D-Mo.), 79, who served in Congress from 1948 to 1969, died Tuesday at a nursing home in Kennett, Mo. The cause of death was not given.

A journalist by profession, Mr. Jones had been associate publisher and editor of the Dunklin Democrat in Kennett and general manager of radio station KBOA there.

He was elected to Congress from Missouri's southeast "bootheel" corner in 1948 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Orville Zimmerman, and was reelected to succeeding terms until he retired in 1969.

Mr. Jones had served on the Agriculture, Administration and Appropriations Committees. Described once as an "untiring crusader for lost causes," he opposed the common practice of inserting unlimited numbers of items into the Congressional Record, suggested that congressmen be docked for absenteeism and fought against a memorial to President Theodore Roosevelt.

Mr. Jones was born in Kennett. He earned a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He was mayor of Kennett and served in the Missouri House and Senate before his election to Congress.

His wife, Ethel, died last year. Survivors include three children, Paul C. Jones Jr. of Albuquerque, Betty Ann Cash of Houston and Nell Jones Mobley of Memphis; and a brother, Edgar, of St. Louis.