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Joseph Lee Person Sr.


1929 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Joseph Lee Person Sr. Obituary
JOSEPH LEE PERSON, SR. Joseph Lee Person, Sr., 85, of Chico, California passed away on May 13, 2015 of natural causes. He was born December 18, 1929, in the town of Hatchechubbee, in Russell County, Alabama to Floyd Lee Person and Ada Bell Jones Person. Joe married Pearl Lee Williams on June 7, 1953 in Westfield, Alabama. Joe and Pearl moved to East Chicago, Indiana in September of 1953. They remained in Indiana for a decade and their three children were born there. He moved to Chico in May of 1964 and his family followed in September of that year. He came to California to work in the construction business and later became the coordinator of the Neighborhood Service Center in Chico, which was a part of the poverty program for Butte County in the early 1970s. He also worked at Butte College before starting his own restaurant business. Joe was a lifelong cook and he opened the Old Fashioned House of Barbeque in Chico in 1978. He retired from the barbeque business in 1993 but continued to cook barbeque for fundraisers, celebrations and family and friends. He was a local civil rights pioneer and participated in many community outreach organizations starting in the 1970s and continuing to present day, including Ebony Men of Action and New Unity. Joe initiated the annual Soul Day which was celebrated locally for many years. He was also a member of Second Baptist Church since 1965. He spearheaded drug free neighborhood zones in Chapman Town, particularly the Dorothy F. Johnson Community Center area and was one of leaders of the Chico Community Coalition which led the effort in erecting the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue at 20th Street Community Park and having a local street named for him as well. Joe was very active in local Democratic politics for decades and realized a lifelong dream when President Obama was elected in 2008. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Pearl Lee Person of Chico; his daughter and son in law, Debra and Arthur Taylor of San Ramon, CA; son Joseph Person, Jr. of Chico and son and daughter in law Johnny and Dawn Person of Chico; grandchildren Arthur Taylor, Alexandra Taylor, Charlie Person, Johnny Person Jr., Devonia Marie Person, Yolanda Yvette Person, Uvonte' Person, Tiffany Randall, and Cameron Davis; great-grandchildren Keith Person, Jonathon Person, Paris Person, Toa Person, Alonna Person, Jayden Person, Johnny Person, Ruby and Henry Randall, Darrius and D'andre Davis. He is also survived by his siblings Frank (and wife Laura) Person of Bessemer, AL, Ossie Payton of Birmingham, AL and Dorothy Edwards of Pleasant Grove, AL and a host of nieces and nephews and their children. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20th at First Baptist Church in Chico. Graveside services will follow at Glen Oaks Memorial Park. Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 5 - 8 p.m. at Brusie Funeral Home.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on May 19, 2015
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