Jessie James Atkins was born on October 1, 1937, in Delta, Mississippi, to the late William Atkins and Mary Burns. He was one of 27 children and had a twin sister by the name of Essie Atkins.
Jessie was a hard worker and a pioneer in his day, being a brick mason, contractor, and one of the first Black builders in his area. Jessie was responsible for building many of the homes in the Alachua Community. He was actually the first Black mason in the city of Alachua. Jessie was united in Holy Matrimony with Susie Atkins, whom he loved dearly. By marriage, he gained beautiful children: Mary Louise Smith, Charlene Smith of Alachua, FL, and Charles Smith, Jr. (deceased) and his wife, Pearl Smith, of Gainesville, FL.
He was a member of Bethesda Outreach Ministries, where the Reverend Nyron Jenkins is the pastor. Jessie re-accepted Christ into his life in October of 2017.
On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Jessie James Atkins accepted the Master’s call and entered eternal and heavenly rest. He was a great man who had many titles: husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend, Dada, “Fro”, and many others. He wore many hats: contractor, mason, City of Alachua historian, etc.; and he was loved and respected throughout the city of Alachua. We are going to miss you, your bikes, your hats, your knowledge, and your genuine concern for EVERYONE.
Those left to cherish his precious memories: his sister, Geraldine Atkins of Hollandale, MS; a special niece, Lorine Savage of Pompano Beach, FL; a special friend, Lisia Jenkins and the entire Jenkins family; his grandchildren, Deray Smith of Alachua, FL, Doron Jenkins (Adia) of Gainesville, FL, Chris Robinson of Alachua, FL, Monica White, Christy Janay Smith, and Charnay La’Briaun Smith, all of Gainesville, FL; his brothers-in-law, Edgar Jones (Patricia) and Henry Jones (Phobe), all of Alachua, FL; his sister-in-law, Nellie Johnson of Gainesville, FL; 18 great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, and sorrowing friends.
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