Jesse D. Clark, Jr. 90, of Champaign-Urbana Illinois, surrounded by his family, peacefully transitioned to be with the Lord at 2:58 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at Carle Hospital in Urbana Illinois.
Jesse, fondly called “Brother” by many who knew him, was born on January 14, 1931 in Champaign, IL. He was the oldest son of nine children born to the union of Rev. Jesse D. Clark Sr. and Erma D. Luter Clark.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE… SGT Jesse D. Clark served in the Koran War for the US Army. He was a part of the 780th Field Artillery Battalion, and also served as Chaplain at the Field Artillery Reunions. He was a direct fire canon operator and often repaired tanks in the dark. Jesse developed the gift of fixing cars with his eyes closed by feeling the parts and repairing them. Jesse was also a member of the American Legion Post 71.
Jesse later joined the University of Illinois Fraternal Order of Police becoming the first Black Police Officer, serving not only the University, but his community as well. Following his retirement as a Police Officer, his service continued. Jesse was well known in the community and a mentor to many youth and young adults.
TRUE LOVE… Jesse found the love of his life, V. Lucille Coleman, while attending church in Canton, IL. They dated for nine years. Lucille waited for him to return from the war and he waited for her to finish nursing school. On July 10, 1955 the wait was over and they were married. To this union two children were born: Gregory Allen Clark, Champaign, IL, and Cara Lynn Clark of Urbana, IL.
THE PROVIDER… Jesse worked as a storeroom keeper for the University of Illinois for a while before joining the Police Force. He was a family man and a good provider, making sure his family was well taken care of. At times, providing did not stop with his family, but helping others as well. With the help of his wife Lucille, many were looked after and became “godchildren” to them both.
FAMILY AFFAIR… Family was Jesse’s heart. He loved family and would do anything and go anywhere for family. He also loved his community and beyond. If someone was in need, he was there. The Bible says to show yourself friendly and he did just that. So much so, he never met a stranger and loved to talk about Jesus.
GOD’S SERVANT… JESSE LOVED JESUS!!! He accepted Christ at an early age at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Kilgore. Over the years, Jesse's relationship with Christ grew and he accepted his calling as a Deacon. His service was not only to his church, but to the community. Those having a conversation with him would often leave feeling happy with spiritual words of encouragement.
Jesse loved to sing and was a member of the Mt. Olive Male Chorus where he was a stellar bass singer. Jesse came from a family of singers, singing often times with his siblings at family functions.
COMMUNITY SERVANT… Jesse worked alongside Timothy Leek at Leek & Sons Funeral Home, provided assistance, meeting with families, transportation, greeting family, route organization, parking, and other administrative assignments. Jesse’s knowledge of nearly everyone in the community was a valuable asset and provided a sense of peace for bereaved families who knew him.
Jesse also established a Tuesday night coffee fellowship. Deacons and friends would meet faithfully. Lots of laughter would roar from the booths at Urbana Gardens Restaurant. The men bonded, uplifted, supported, and encouraged each other.
WORLD TRAVELER… Jesse and Lucille (aka “Lu”) loved traveling! Although you couldn't get him on an airplane or Lu on a boat, they would drive from coast to coast and never take the same route twice. Jesse loved to camp and would take his family on camping trips, to family reunions, vacations, or sometimes a trip just because it was a beautiful day. And if the wife and kids weren't available, he'd scoop up his roaddogs Jimmie Bolton and Ruby Hunt and set out for Tennessee to visit family at the drop of a hat.
HANDYMAN… Jesse loved older cars and working on cars. He built Lu’s Volkswagen in the living room of their first home. He loved working with his hands and enjoyed woodwork and building things. He even designed and built the home his family still lives in.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN… Jesse leaves to cherish his loving memory his wife Lucille, two children; Greg and Cara of Champaign IL, grandchildren Genee' Clark and Tylor Clark, great-grandchildren; Jayden and Kiara, as well as his six God-Grandchildren; Rami Wilson and Spensir Rogers of Champaign, IL, Naomi Davis, Zahvaryan Davis, Eason Davis, and McKinzy Davis, of Atlanta, GA, a brother; Clyde "CW" Clark (Isola) of Kokomo, IN, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.
Jesse was preceded in death by his parents, five sisters (Rosalee Virginia “Bootsie” Clark, Ruthie Mae DeShong, Carolyne Wilson, Imogene Cashmere, and Lucille “Pepper” Roberts) and two brothers (Marvin “Butch” Clark, and Lonnie “Poochie” Clark).
A public viewing will be held on Sunday, March 7, 2021 at Leek & Sons Funeral Home, 1215 W. Bradley Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Family will not be present).
A private Homegoing Celebration will commence at 12:00 Noon on Monday, March 8, 2021 at Leek & Sons Funeral Home in Urbana, IL. Pastor Keith Thomas, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, will deliver the eulogy. A private viewing will begin at 11:00 a.m. until the time of the service. Interment will be in Grandview Memorial Gardens, Champaign, IL.
Homegoing Celebration will be livestreamed from Leek & Sons Funeral Home Facebook page.
Due to CDC Regulations, attendance restrictions will be enforced, social distancing, and wearing of masks will be required.
Leek & Sons Funeral Home
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jesse D. Clark Jr., please visit our floral store.