Jesse Whitfield Dunwoody, 95, a devoted husband, loving father and loyal friend, left this earthly realm and entered into his heavenly home early Tuesday morning, Feb. 12, 2013. In 1934, at age 17, Jesse joined the United States Navy. He spent time in the Pacific during WWII and was one of the “Greatest Generation” that defended our country and the free world. In WWII he was assigned to the USS Charrette, a destroyer in the Pacific where he ascended to the Engineering Officer of the ship by the end of the war. He was in two major battles: the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Jesse retired from the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in 1960, moved to Appling County and spent his time raising, training and working pointing dogs ever since. He married Opal Bland on October 16, 1937 and they had four children, Jesse Jr., Barbara, Donna and Wanda. Barbara died in June of 1973 leaving her three children, Paris, Eric and Leif England whom Jesse and Opal eventually ended up raising as a second family. Jesse was a member of the First United Methodist Church.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Opal Bland Dunwoody and parents, Ernest Guy Dunwoody and Mildred Tuten Dunwoody Preston.
Survivors include two daughters, Donna Dunwoody and Wanda Dunwoody Stone, both of Baxley; one son, Jesse Whitfield Dunwoody, Jr. of Miami, Florida; three sisters, Lucille Dunwoody Rawcliffe of Gaithersburg, MD, Eloise Dunwoody Cook of Lilburn and Jean Dunwoody Buffington of Manchester; seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16 from the chapel of Swain Funeral Home with the Revs. Tom Johnson and Thad Harvey officiating. Interment followed in Omega Cemetery with Military Honors with Taps played by Bill Bowers.
Active pallbearers were Benjie Stephens, Francis Fountain, Don Clarke, Ron Lambert, Ike Crosby, Don Corrado, Terry Temples and Wayne Dodson.
Honorary pallbearers were South Georgia North Florida Field Trial Association, Anna James, Dr. Dianne Campbell, John Burke, Chester Stokes, Dr. Troy Rahn, Dwight Youmans, Ronald Youmans, Kim Borland, Mary Fountain, Emmett Johnson, Pres Johnson, Bobby Roberts and Jessie Tillman.
Musical selections were rendered by Brandi Harvey, Chelsei Norris and Cherry Platt. Bill Bowers played taps and sang.
Remembrances may be made to woundedwarriorproject.org or Serenity Hospice of Vidalia, 304 West First Street, Vidalia, Ga. 30474.
Arrangements were under the direction of Swain Funeral Home.