Jesse James Clements, Sr., was born on Aug. 5, 1922, to the union of the late Julia Mae Ross and Willie Lee Clements in Apolo. He moved to Covington with his family while he was a young child. He graduated from Washington Street School in Newton County and the QMC Technical School. Jesse accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized at Bethel Grove Baptist Church in Mansfield. Later he became a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church where he served as Church Treasurer for several years and was a member of the Deacon Board.
Jesse James Clements, Sr. courageously served his country and was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received the World War II Victory Medal, the American Service and the Good Conduct Medals during his service. After returning, he was employed at Georgia Highway Express in Atlanta, where he retired as a dock foreman. Like Jesus, he was a carpenter by trade and built numerous beautiful homes around the Newton County area.
He married the late Lillie Ruth Riley in 1942. They were blessed to have nine children: Barbara Jean, Sara Mae, Jesse James Jr., Rosemary, Marvin Grant, Melvin Gene, Winifred Yvette, Pamela Denise, and Robert Sydney.
In 1974, he married Julia White Smith and to this union they added Huel, Linda Gail, Vanessa Dale and Wanda Michelle.
Five of his children preceded him in death, Robert “Bobby,” Barbara “Bob” Jesse, Jr, Huel and Linda.
Jesse James Clements, Sr. enjoyed life to the fullest.
His family: Attending family gatherings and celebrations; dancing with the girls; playing basketball with the grands and great-grands; telling “tall tales” to a captive audience; singing the old hymns of Zion with his “backup choir” of children and grandchildren, or just hanging out any day of the week.
His friends: The undisputed checkers champion of the area, he took on players of all ages and considered it his duty to visit and shave the sick and shut in.
Jesse James Clements, Sr. departed this life on Nov. 17, 2017. Just as in life his exit from this earthly tabernacle was peaceful. He leaves to cherish his precious memory: his wife of 43 years Julia, eight children, 28 grandchildren, 62 great-grandchild, eight great-great-grandchildren; three sisters in law: Sadie Belcher of Columbus, Helen Floyd and Annie Vason of Covington; brother in law: Marvin White of Covington; daughters in law: Dessie Clements (Jesse), Shirley Clements (Marvin), Lelia Foster and Martha Clements (Melvin); sons in law: Harold Bigelow of Atlanta, David Norwood of Covington, Tommy Phillips III of Decatur, Howard Anderson IV of Jacksonville, Florida, and Clifford McKnight (Michelle) of Covington; nieces, nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 at 12 p.m. at Bethlehem Baptist Church, at 2177 Usher St., in Covington, with Rev. H.K. Benton, Jr., Rev. Karen Kelly and Rev. Dwayne A. Stephens officiating.