The Children of Israel announce the passing of Jesse L. Israel, Jr., 91, at the Hospice Unit of the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Betty Carter Israel; and his children, David Israel and wife Diane of Asheville, Lonnie Israel and wife Gail of Candler, and Janet Strickland and husband, Danny, of Canton; seven grandchildren, Alan Israel (Heather), Anna Howland (Jake), Amber Israel, Aaron Bryson (Courtney), Trevor Israel, Jessica Strickland, and Megan Strickland; eight great-grandchildren; sister Christine Israel Miller of Candler; and aunts Louetta O'Brien of Winchester, VA and Edith Lee Hatfield of Winston-Salem. He joins his mother, Sydna Reagan Israel, who died when Jesse was nine years old, and a great-grandson, Ashton, among the heavenly hosts.
Mr. Israel was a graduate of Asheville Normal College. Like many young men of his time, he joined the US Navy at age seventeen. Serving his country in the Pacific Fleet during World War II, Jesse fought in many major battles and flew on the last air raid of Tokyo in 1945. As a distinguished Navy veteran, he was honored during the Honor Flight from ASheville to Washington, DC, in May, 2011.
After marriage, Betty and Jesse lived on the seven-generation farm in Candler. They established Jesse Israel and Sons Nursery in 1968. There he bacame immersed in the growing of plants and the natural world. In 1982, along with David and Lonnie, he opened Jesse Israel and Sons Nursery and Garden Center at the WNC Farmers' Market in Asheville. Jesse continued to grow plants for the Garden Center with the help of daughter, Janet. He continued growing plants until his retirement in 1996. During retirement, his homegrown vegetables were shared with any friends and relatives.
Graveside services with Military Honors will be at 3:00 p.m. Sunday at Piney Mountain United Methodist Church Cemetery, 14 Piney Mountain Church Road, Candler, with the Rev. Kevin Bates officiating.
The family will receive friends following the service in the church fellowship hall.
Memorials may be made to the CarePartners Hospice Foundation, PO Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813, or to Charles George VAMC, Attn.: Voluntary Service, 1100 Tunnel Road, Asheville, NC 28805 (with Hospice Unit on the memo line), or to Piney Mountain United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund.