Send a Sympathy Card
Plant Memorial Trees
Saturday, August 5, 2023
Starts at 1:00pm (Eastern time)
Dr. Percy Wells Jessup, Jr. (PW) passed away on July 31, 2023, at The North Carolina State Veterans Home in Fayetteville, N.C. He was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend. He
practiced dentistry In Fayetteville for more than 50 years. Many of those years alongside his lifelong friend and dental school classmate, Joel Hedgecoe.
PW was the firstborn child of Percy Jessup and Merle Savage Jessup. He was born in Lumberton, NC on September 12, 1941. Although no documentation exists, his mother swore that the entire nursing team deemed him the “prettiest baby ever born in Bladen County”. To our knowledge, he still holds that title. He grew up in Elizabethtown directly across the street from the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church. After graduating from Elizabethtown High School, PW went on to graduate from the The University of North Carolina in Chapel and The University of North Carolina School Of Dentistry.
After dental school, PW proudly served his country as a Captain in the Dental Corp in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war. He truly believed that he should ask not what his country could do for him but what he could do for his country. He remained active with the military in the reserves for 9 years and through volunteer work for his entire life.
Upon his return to the States, PW married Martha Cooper Phillips on a very hot day in July 1969. There was never any doubt that the two were best friends. Often casually bantering about who was luckier to have been picked by the other. But both knowing they had hit the jackpot.
PW was a lifelong learner and is said to have attended more courses than anyone else at the UNC Department of the Humanities. He spent every weekend that he could in Chapel Hill, wandering the campus and browsing the stacks of the Undergrad Library for any books he had not read. He was truly a bibliophile. Reading any book whenever and wherever he could. Continuously learning brought him so much joy. In addition to reading for his own interests, he also read every summer reading book his children and grandchildren were assigned. He read every textbook, cover to cover, that his daughter was assigned during her time at Chapel Hill. Books were one of the few material pieces he treasured. Not only because he could read them and enjoy them but also because he could pass them along to others.
PW was a member of The North Carolina Society, The Academy of General Dentistry where he was awarded a Fellowship, Mastership and in 2012 he received the coveted Lifelong Learning and Service Award from The Academy. He was awarded The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, the highest award for state service granted by the office of the governor.
PW attended and loved the John M. Wilson Sunday School Class at Highland Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville.
He is predeceased by his parents, Merle Savage Jessup and Percy Wells Jessup of Elizabethtown.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years Martha Phillips Jessup, his children Lance Wells Jessup, Caroline Kelly Jessup Cash (Clay), his brother Dr. Pat Jessup (Nancy Cross Jessup) of Lumberton, his sister June Marie Jessup (Dr. Zack Smith) of Fayetteville Brother in law John R. Phillips, Jr.,(Pattie Hooper) and grandchildren Wells Cash, Wade Cash, Eva Catherine Jessup, Elizabeth Cooper Jessup and bonus granddaughter Etta Ford Lewis nieces Wellesley Lawrence (Jim) of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Patton Smith Simpson (Jordan) of Raleigh, Lisa Derrick (Carter) great nieces Marien Lawrence and Grey Simpson.
PW was a great storyteller but also an amazing listener. He was a man that loved being at home in his own bed but was also happy to travel, collect experiences and make memories. He loved this community and the opportunity that dentistry allowed him to help people while also getting to know them over the years. He woke up every day and decided to find joy and believed that happiness was not something you had or did not have but something you sought out, something you fought for and something you deserved.
He was grateful every day for a wonderful life. And just when he thought he could not be any more blessed, his grandchildren came into the world. Each and every one of them adoring him, clinging to him and willing to go anywhere and everywhere with their “Bubby”. Being with Bubby was like sitting in the sunshine. He created a sense of peace and happiness that was contagious. Being around him made us all strive to be better people, do more good in the world, learn more, love more and give more.
Memorials may be made to The Food Pantry at Highland Presbyterian Church, 111 Highland Avenue, Fayetteville NC 28305 or Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church PO Box 576, Elizabethtown NC 28337.
A memorial service and celebration of his amazing life will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at Highland Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville at 1:00pm with visitation in the fellowship hall following the service.
Services are entrusted to Sullivan’s Highland Funeral Service & Crematory.