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Jessie Eileen Wilburn

January 9, 1924 ~ April 25, 2020 (age 96)


Jessie Eileen Wilburn, 95, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, passed away Saturday at Greeneville Community Hospital East. At the time of her passing she was a resident of Morning Pointe, Greeneville.

She is survived by her children: Cynthia Sams (Bernie Sams- deceased) of Greeneville and Jeff Wilburn (Denise) of Alexandria, VA; her grandchildren: Michael Sams (Karri) of Johnson City and Jessica Hensley of Greeneville, TN; her great-grandchildren: Seth and Stella of Johnson City. She is also survived by her sister-in-law: Barbara Wilburn of Bluffton, IN; and several nieces and nephews.

Born and raised in Ossian, Indiana, Jessie was the youngest of child of Jess and Ivy Neuenschwander. She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Wilburn; sisters: Gladys Kunkel and Mildred Minnich; and her brother: Leon Neuenschwander. Jessie married her high school sweetheart, Wayne Everett Wilburn, in Ossian, IN, on March 4, 1944. They were happily married together until his death in June of 2018.

She worked at Magnavox in Fort Wayne, IN, as a secretary for a department head until the birth of their first child. Jessie and Wayne moved to Greeneville in 1957 from Fort Wayne. In her early years in Greeneville, Jessie was a volunteer librarian at the Greeneville-Greene County Library and a member of the Youth Builders of Greeneville.

In 1959, Jessie and Wayne were part of a group that organized and founded Saint Matthew Methodist Church in Greeneville, located off Fairgrounds Road. They were active on many committees and sang in the choir. She was a secretary at Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church from 1962 to 1988, a job she dearly loved. The staff and congregation were like family to her.

Jessie was an active member of Asbury United Methodist Church while her health permitted and was a member of the United Methodist Women where she held many different positions, including President. She was also active in the Study Group - Bookworms, and The Larue Bible Class. Starting in 1987 and continuing for many years, Jessie was also involved in the Greeneville Adult Literacy Program. She was an avid reader, who received much joy in teaching reading.

Jessie was passionate about gardening, cooking, playing bridge, community theatre, and she was also an avid Lady Vols fan. Jessie and Wayne shared many happy times with the Thursday Night Supper group. She was an excellent seamstress and sewed many articles of clothing for various occasions, including her daughter’s wedding dress.

After her husband’s retirement, they were able to travel around the country and abroad. Some of these travels were in groups with her siblings and other relatives. In her early 70’s she was diagnosed with Primary Lateral Sclerosis, a disease which greatly impaired her mobility. However, she continued to be an inspiration to all the many lives she touched. Every time anyone mentions Jessie’s name, her beautiful smile is mentioned. She never lost her love and zest for life. She was beautiful inside and out, and will be missed by all.

Private graveside services will be held at Oak Grove Cemetery with the Rev. Jerry Jones officiating. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Pallbearers will be Jeff Wilburn, Michael Sams, Seth Price, and Eddie Humphreys.

Memorials may maybe to Asbury United Methodist Women’s Scholarship Fund or to the Boys and Girls Club of Greeneville and Greene County. 

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