Jesse Russell Smith Sr. “Big Jess”


July 29, 1931 - August 20, 2017

    In loving memory of our father, grandfather and friend, Jess Smith.
    Jess was born in Kayenta, Arizona on an Indian Reservation (Navajo County). His father, James, died when he was 4 years old. His mother, Henrietta remarried Lyndsey Loy who Jess had fond memories of.
    Jess left home at age 10, to work as a camp cook’s helper on a ranch.  He loved the cowboy lifestyle! He spent his youth working ranches in Arizona. He graduated from Cottonwood High School. At age 17, he joined the US Navy Air Force (1948-1952). He was stationed primarily in Sasebo, Japan going back and forth to Atsugi. He was a Combat Aircrew/Radar Navigator on a Skyraider; he spent 2 yrs. in combat zone in the Korean War. Honorably discharged from the military after serving 4 very proud years, he went back to Arizona where he worked for 2 yrs as a heliarc welder.
     After hearing an ad on the radio for police officers wanted in California, he moved to Burbank. He was a police officer for Burbank Police Dept for 2 yrs, then joined the CHP. He rode motorcycles for several years in East L.A. and the surrounding area. After attending numerous academies and colleges, he graduated in 1959 from Cal State L.A. with a B.S. in Police Science and Public Administration. He worked in the L.A. area and Malibu for several years. He was promoted to Sergeant and moved to Arroyo Grande to work in San Luis Obispo. He moved back to the L.A. area for a short time after being promoted to Lieutenant. Jess his wife and kids moved to King City in 1969, where he retired as Lieutenant and Area Commander.  
    Jess retired from the CHP after 22 years. With a teaching credential, he instructed at Hartnell, Allan Hancock, and Moore Park Colleges.  In 1983, he trained all security personnel at Kwajalein Missile Range, Marshall Islands.  
    The only thing Jess loved more than reading a good book was his family and friends.  Charming and confident with a magnetic personality, Jess was truly one of a kind. He had the ability to make anyone laugh with his witty sense of humor. Jess passed peacefully on August 20, 2017 with Little Jess, Stacy, Brynn, Tatum and Jessilyn by his side.
    Jess is survived by his sons John, Jesse and wife Stacy; daughters Lisa and husband Butch Sullivan, Jessica Smith; grandchildren Brynn, Tatum, Jessilyn, Bethany, Don Burkman, Keoni, Lance, and Mason; great grandchildren Tanya, Adriana and JonPaul. It’s worth mentioning the numerous extended family that he also considered his grandchildren, Sierra, Summer, Jonah, Jan Thomas, Harper and Cole.
He will be missed!  Rest in Peace Papa Jess.  

A celebration of life will be held Saturday September 9, 2017, 12:00 p.m. at the Lockwood Community Center. 

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