HENDERSONVILLE-Harold Joseph Jesse, 91, died on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 after a period of declining health. He was born on September 13, 1922 to the late Reinhart and Agnes Hornung Jesse in Detroit, Mi. He was also preceded in death by his only two sisters, Florence B. Wagner and Ann Youngblood both of Michigan.
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After graduating from Redford High School in 1940, he enrolled in the Detroit Institute of Technology Program. After completing the program for three years, he enrolled in the prestigious V-12 Program at the University of Michigan. He excelled in the Engineering Program and while obtaining his degree in Mechanical Engineering was honored at the Valedictorian of his Senior Class.
A member of our Greatest Generation, Harold served our country during World War II, enlisting with the United States Navy. With his engineering background, he was deployed on the USS Jeffries, a Destroyer, which saw action not only in Normandy, but in Southern France as well. The "Jolly J" as it was affectionately called was converted into a Mine Sweep Vessel and re-located to the Pacific front. Harold and his crewmates were involved in the invasion of Okinawa, as well as numerous other battles. Harold and his fellow war heroes were proud to have witnessed the signing of The Peace Treaty.
After returning home from the War, Harold resumed his engineering career working with the Automotive Industry. He held engineering positions with Newcomb Engineering, Gallagher-Kaiser, Ford Motor Company and Flakt Engineering. He retired from Flakt Engineering in December, 1987.
Having moved to Hendersonville after his retirement with his saxophone in hand, Harold became an active member in the Asheville Community Band. He was a charter member of the Hendersonville Community Band as well as the Hendersonville Swing Band. His love for music led him to the dance floor as an active member of the Southern Lights Square and Round Dance Club for over 20 years. He enjoyed the outdoors either hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, or enjoying a round of golf. He also enjoyed playing Bridge, and the numerous extensive traveling he enjoyed with Emily. He was an active member of the Hendersonville First United Methodist Church.
He is survived by his loving wife of over 44 years, Emily Vibbert Jesse; One daughter, Cynthia C. Jesse of Reno, NV; Five sons: Ronald Jesse and his wife, Andrea of San Diego, Ca., John Jesse and his wife, Kristin, of Reno, NV, Ronald Vibbert and his wife, Mary Jo of Alma, MI, H.J. Vibbert and his wife, Sandra of Peoria, IL, Gordon Vibbert and his wife, Barbara of Pinckney, MI. One grandson, Jared Vibbert of Washington, D.C., two granddaughters: Charlotte Jesse of Carlsbad, CA and Geneva Jesse of Reno, NV as well as several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held 2:00 PM Saturday, July 19, 2014 at the First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville with the Reverend Dan Martin officiating. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the Barber Christian Life Center.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Hendersonville First United Methodist Church, 204 6th Avenue West, Hendersonville, NC 28739.
An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.
Thos. Shepherd & Son - Hendersonville
125 South Church Street Hendersonville, NC 28792
Published in The Times-News on July 13, 2014