Cover photo for Jessie Clarence Lunsford's Obituary
Jessie Clarence Lunsford Profile Photo

Jessie Clarence Lunsford

d. September 25, 2023

Baneberry, TN

Jessie Clarence Lunsford


Jessie Clarence Lunsford—affectionally known as J.C. to many—of Baneberry, TN, peacefully passed away from Alzheimer's at the age of 92 on September 25, 2023. He spent his early years growing up in the “holler” of the beautiful Smoky Mountains before his widowed mother, Leona Wilde Lunsford, decided to relocate with her eight children to Newport, TN.

The family eventually settled in Knoxville, TN, where Jessie joined the army when he was seventeen and served as an engineer in the Korean War. He returned to the States and was stationed at Fort McClellan in Aniston, AL, where he met his first wife, Sylvia “LeMerle” Robershaw. The couple had three children: Monty, Denise, and Teresa.

After being honorably discharged from the army, Jessie pursued a new career path as a stonemason apprentice under his father-in-law, OB Robershaw, in Gadsden, AL. However, due to a lack of job opportunities in Alabama, Jessie moved with LeMerle’s family to San Diego, CA, in 1956. There, they established their own thriving business, RLR Masonry Contractors.

Jessie was an avid hunter and a scratch golfer. He loved country music and old hymns, played the guitar, and became a square dance caller. He met his second wife, Patricia Legard Lunsford, at one of the dances he directed. Jessie and “Pat” lived in Santee, CA, and retired to Baneberry, TN, in 1995. The couple built a lovely home with Lakeland golf course in front of the house and Douglas Lake in the back. This was a full-circle moment for Jessie. Tennessee was always in his heart, and he often talked about returning “home.”

Jessie also dedicated himself to public service and served as Road Commissioner and Building Inspector for the city of Baneberry, where he also built the mailbox facility, community center, and town hall. When he wasn’t busy with his civic duties, Jessie enjoyed spending quality time with family, friends, and neighbors on the golf course or fishing for crappie on the lake. He was a passionate supporter of the University of Tennessee Volunteers and was often seen yelling at the TV screen as he cheered on his favorite team.

Jessie possessed a sharp and humorous wit that persisted until the very end. He was highly adept at pun-laden dad jokes such as, “Do you know why your bike won’t stand up? It’s two tired.” He appeared to gain immense satisfaction in the moans and eye-rolls of his children. One of his final jests occurred just days before his passing when a nurse approached him and said, “I’m here to take your blood pressure.” Without missing a beat, he quipped, “That’s okay, just bring it back when you’re done.”

He was predeceased by his son Monty Dale Lunsford; brothers Mack, Acle, Sanford, and Charles; sisters Evelyn Kennemore, Callie Marie Cagle, and Vinita Anderson. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; two daughters, Denise and Teresa; his sister, Dorothy Carrol; twelve grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; and many adoring nieces and nephews.

Internment and a celebration of life will take place at a later date to honor Jessie’s memory. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association to support the ongoing fight against this devastating disease. Your generosity would be greatly appreciated.


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