Jessie Dixon Dye, of Rancho Bernardo, passed away peacefully on July 4, 2012, at the age of 89. He was born on May 13, 1923, in Cochran, Georgia, to Johnnie B. and Ruby Mae Grimsley Dye. He was the eldest of four brothers.|
Jessie enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1940. Upon completion of training, his company was selected to march in the January 1941 inauguration parade for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fourth term. Jessie proudly served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, before retiring on March 1, 1971, as a lieutenant. During World War II, he crossed the "T" aboard the USS Melvin in the Battle of Surigao Strait, which was part of the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Sea. The Melvin made night torpedo attacks on heavy enemy vessels in what is generally considered to be the largest naval battle and the Japanese Navy's worst defeat of World War II.
Following retirement from the Navy, Jessie was a popular Naval Junior ROTC instructor at Orange Glen High School in Escondido from 1974 through 1987. He was a lifetime member and officer of many veterans groups, including the Fleet Reserve Association, Branch 9; Disabled American Veterans; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 7766; and Military Order of the World Wars, Gen. J.P. Holland Chapter.
He held various offices in the Fleet Reserve Association, including President, and served for 25 years as the Legislative Chairman for the Fleet Reserve Association, writing a monthly column for its newspaper. He participated for many years in the Rancho Bernardo Fourth of July Parade with the Military Order of the World Wars and a Color Guard from the Orange Glen High School NJROTC.
Jessie was active in his community as well, serving on the Rancho Bernardo Community Council and as Deputy Director of the Rancho Bernardo Emergency Preparedness group. He served as a member of a working group of citizens to study the proposed Balboa Park Master Plan amendments and the Zoological Society of San Diego leasehold in 2000/2001. He was instrumental in saving the San Diego Veterans War Memorial Building in the park which was slated for demolition to make room for a parking garage. In 2000, the building received historical designation on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jessie was a positive and optimistic person who loved telling a good joke or an entertaining story with a twinkle in his eye. He was a Navy man through and through and enjoyed telling the story (with a sly grin) of receiving his first pair of shoes when he enlisted in the Navy as a teenager from Depression-era rural Georgia. In a 1994 newspaper interview, Jessie reflected on his successful career. "A lot of it has been due to a certain kind of luck, as well as hard work," he said. "I never minded the hard work and I've been grateful for the luck."
Jessie is preceded in death by his loving wife of 67 years, Mary Katherine Walsh Dye, who passed away on July 5, 2010. He is survived by his daughter, Maureen Cummings and son-in-law, Dick Cummings; son, Jesse Dye and daughter-in-law, Elaine Dye; grandchildren, Gillian Beck, Sean Cummings, Eric Dye and Carolyn Marshall; great-granddaughters, Ashley Blose, Kaitlyn Cummings and Lauren Cummings; and brother, Clifford Dye. He is predeceased by his brothers, Charlie "Sam" Dye and Bobby Dye.
He will be deeply missed by all who loved him.
Military funeral honors and inurnment will take place on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at 11 a.m. at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma.
Published in the Pomerado News on July 19, 2012