Jessie Alton “Jess” Whitlock, 85, of McMinnville died Tuesday Sept. 22 at Raintree Manor Nursing Center in McMinnville.
He was born Jan. 12, 1930 in Warren County and was the proprietor of Whitlock’s Grocery and a decorated Korean War veteran with the U S Army. Mr. Whitlock was preceded in death by parents Otis and Lula Bond Whitlock, son Ricky Alan Whitlock, sister Elizabeth Houser, and brothers Earl and Harold Whitlock.
Mr. Whitlock loved many things. Among them were his church, his family, and his country. Jess was a member of Charles Creek the Baptist Church, where he served as deacon for 46 years. Prior to his death, he was the oldest and longest tenured deacon in the congregation. He bravely served his country in the Korean War as a sergeant in the 11th Airborne Division where he was both a paratrooper and in reconnaissance. During his time in Korea, he made two combat jumps into enemy territory with 17 total jumps in his military career. Upon completion of his service, Jess was awarded several badges and medals. These include a Parachute Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars, and the United Nations Service Medal.
His working career started at the age of 15 when he was employed at the Cherokee Café in Knoxville. By the age of 16, he was manager of that café. Jess utilized his skills he learned from the café from August of 1965 - April of 2013 when he owned and operated the famous Whitlock’s Grocery in the Short Mountain Road/ Daylight community. He took pride in the many bologna sandwiches and Sundrops he sold in the store, and the many friends and companions he connected with over the years.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Ruby Pedigo Whitlock; daughter Donna (Darryl) Mathis; grandchildren Erica (Dewayne) Bragg and Whitley (Casey) Oshea; great-grandchildren Makade Trapp, Kaylyn, Brooklyn and Kinley Bragg, and Peyton Oshea; nieces Shirley Webb, Kathy Love, and Rhonda Hay, and sister-in-law Patsy Whitlock. Other family members and friends also survive.
Funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Charles Creek the Baptist Church. Elder Cecil Van Winkle, elder Nick Pelham, and elder Darrell Cantrell will officiate. Interment will follow at Charles Creek Cemetery. Military grave rites will be conducted by American Legion Post 173 and VFW Post 5064. The Whitlock family will receive friends Friday at Charles Creek the Baptist Church from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be no visitation Friday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Charles Creek Cemetery Fund or to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Online condolences may be made at www.mcminnvillefuneralhome.com.
McMinnville Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
(McMinnville, Tenn.) Sept. 25, 2015