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Jesse Lee Collins Sr.


1931 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
JESSE LEE COLLINS, SR. passed away on May 20, 2015 at home surrounded by his loving family, in Riverside, CA. He was born September 25, 1931 in Muskogee, OK to father Mitchell Lee Collins. Jesse was raised by his grandparents Calvin and Florence Collins. He attended Wybark Elementary and Manuel Training High School where he received a degree in Auto Mechanics. He married Clarice Palmer at which time they moved to Riverside, CA where they started a family. He worked for Norton Air Force Base as an airplane mechanic for 11 years. After leaving Norton AFB he became self employed, becoming one of the first black men in Riverside to establish his own lawn and landscape business, clients included E.L. Yeager, Learner's, J.D. Diffenbaugh, Dr. Jack Ferman MD, Dr. Kent, Dr. Lewis, UCR Professor Broadbent, Dr. Gary Farney DDS, Ralph Nelson, movie director, Percy Powell and Kustner's Medical Square, working for over 25 years. He then began working for IPC Trucking, driving and delivering cargo across the United States, his handle was the "California Demon". In 1982, he began volunteering his time at Park Ave. Baptist Church in Riverside, helping to build and landscape the new church building located at Martin Luther King Blvd. and Ottawa Ave. He personally labored, installing the sprinkler system, selected and planted the trees, grass, shrubbery and flowers that adorn the church today. Soon after, he became employed by Park Ave. Baptist Church as the sole grounds keeper, responsible for all the maintenance and upkeep of the outside grounds. Among the roses and the perennials he planted a vegetable garden, a green grocer's worth of beets, tomatoes, peppers, turnips, okra and collard greens, extending the harvest to anyone in the community who wanted or needed it. He also planted fruit trees as an added treat, all of which aligned the parking lot, there for community enjoyment. He took pleasure in watching others enjoy the fruits of his labor. In 1994 he was featured in The Press Enterprise in a news article that told of his stealth garden and his generosity to the public. He also worked as the church cook, preparing delicious meals for various church activities as well as funerals. He was baptized at Park Ave. Baptist Church by Pastor L.B. Moss. He loved country western music, rodeos, old western movies and books and he enjoyed wearing western attire. He was also a voracious reader. Jesse took pride in everything he set out to do. He was a quiet man, a family man, he was respectable, honorable and decent. He is survived by his wife Clarice Collins; children Sandra, Jesse, Jr., Linda Diann, Dana, Joany, Vanessa and raised granddaughter LaChelle M. Davis; sons-in-law Floyd Bland Sr, and Keith Thomas; daughters-in-law Pamela Collins and Nyna Collins; grandchildren Tajhali, Kenitha, Kai, Floyd Jr, Dana, Jessica, Brittany, Brandon, Christopher, Marquietta, Tasha and Joe; great-grandchildren Omari, Kendell, Jayden, Xavier, Carter, Messiah and Mylie. Preceded in death by daughters Jesse Marie and Dora Lynn Collins. There will be a private family service. Arrangements by Tillman Riverside Mortuary, 2874 Tenth Street, Riverside, CA 92507.


Published in Press-Enterprise from June 7 to June 9, 2015
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