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Bill Jessee Athletic Endowment

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Special thanks to TechSideline.com and the Hokie Club for providing information and ideas for this site.

The Tidewater Hokie Club has established the Bill Jessee Athletic Endowment in memory of the longtime Tidewater Hokie Club President who passed away in December 2005. 

We have pledged $100,000 to fully fund the Endowment. All funds raised by the Club over the next few years will go towards this Endowment and our $100k pledge. If you would like to contribute to the Club's fundraising efforts for the Endowment, please send us a check made out to "Tidewater Hokie Club, Inc" with "Bill Jessee Athletic Endowment" noted on the check, and send it to us at:
 Tidewater Hokie Club - 3812 Goose Bay Dr - Portsmouth VA 23703-2212.

Donations can be made directly to the Endowment through the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, 504 Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va., 24061.  For more detailed information, contact Terry Bolt for the VTAF, at (540)231-6618, or e-mail her at tbolt@vt.edu.  

Each year a scholarship will be awarded to a local student athlete. So far the scholarship has been awarded to:

2006-07 Xavier Adibi
2007-08 Vince Hall
Kam Chancellor
Vinston Painter
J C Coleman
2016-17 Jahque Alleyne
Devon Hunter

Post Script: Portsmouth man took being a Hokies fan seriously

By FRED KIRSCH, The Virginian-Pilot
December 9, 2005

PORTSMOUTH — Bill Jessee became a Hokie for life almost from that first day he stepped on campus at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in the ’50s.

He would spend the next 50 years telling the less fortunate, “If you’re not a Hokie, you need to be.”

Jessee, who died Nov. 29 at age 67, did more than bleed orange and maroon on Saturdays. He raised funds for the school, helped deserving youngsters get scholarships, found jobs for Hokie grads.

For a dozen years he served as president of the Tidewater Hokie Club, arranged bus trips, put on golf tournaments and, of course, dropped the “H-word” at every chance.

“He loved the school,” said Chris, his wife of 37 years. “He felt Virginia Tech changed his life and made him what he was, and he never forgot that.”

Jessee was the fourth of 12 children. He was put to work at an early age helping on the family farm. After a stint at junior college, he attended Tech for two years.

A job offer brought him to Portsmouth, where he met Chris when he was dating her roommate. “We fell in like and then in love,” she said. “Oh yes, he was already totally involved with the Hokies.”

Jessee was on the Tech football bandwagon before there was a bandwagon to jump on, enduring the lean years. “This is our year,” he’d announce at the start of each fall.

“How did he take losses?” Chris asked. “He grieved.”

Jessee watched most home games from his seat on the 35-yard line, decked out in Hokie garb. At home, he was perched on the sofa when he wasn’t jumping up to shout encouragement.

When Tech finally got to play for the national championship in 2000, Jessee wasn’t there. He was in Richmond for “something more important,” the birth of his first grandchild.

Away from the field, he enjoyed antiquing with Chris, surf fishing and bringing doughnuts to his friends at Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy. He was also active with Centenary United Methodist Church.

“Bill was a very special person,” said Terry Bolt of the Virginia Tech athletic fund. “He didn’t make you just feel good about being a Hokie ; he made you feel good about yourself and good about life.”

Once asked who he’d be if he could trade places with anyone for a day, Bill Jessee didn’t need time to think about it.

“Michael Vick.”

Reach Fred Kirsch at (757) 446-2484 or postscripts@pilotonline.com

Billy F. Jessee , Portsmouth
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005

Billy Franklin Jessee, 67, died Nov. 29, 2005, in his residence in Churchland. A native of Russell County, Va., Mr. Jessee was an engineer at East West partners in Suffolk and was previously vice president of Rountree Construction in Suffolk. He was a member of Centenary United Methodist Church and the Thursday Morning Prayer Group. He was also president of the Tidewater Hokie Club, a member of Churchland Masonic Lodge No. 276 and served in the National Guard. He was predeceased by his father, Garnett Franklin Jessee. Survivors include his wife, Chris Jessee; his mother, Hattie Hubbard Jessee of Lebanon, Va.; a daughter, Leslie J. Hobson and her husband Christopher of Quinton, Va.; two beloved granddaughters, Olivia McGowan and Ellie Victoria; eight sisters, Kathleen Harris of Honaker, Va., Mary Raub of Bluefield, W. Va., Janice Duty of Richmond, Va., Joanna Hale of Pensacola, Fla., Bonnie Jones, Barbara Holliday, Deborah Price and Vickie Owens, all of Lebanon; two brothers, Roy Jessee of Lynchburg, Va., and James Jessee of Manassas, Va.; and loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday in Centenary United Methodist Church by the Rev. Gary Alvis. Burial will be in Oak Grove Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Sturtevant Funeral Home, Bennetts Creek Chapel, today from 6 to 9 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to Centenary United Methodist Church or the Va. Tech Athletic Fund, P.O. Box 10307, Blacksburg, VA 24062. 

This page last updated on July 12, 2019