Jessie Lee Wise

July 7, 1940 ~ January 31, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Jessie Wise Obituary


In the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Jessie Lee Wise a.ka. Poppy answered the call of the Lord. The peace of God rested upon his face as his countenance changed right before our eyes. For to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Jessie Lee Wise was born on July 7, 1940 to Thomas and Willie Mae Wise in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Jessie attended the New Mine Creek Baptist in Keeling, Virginia as a child. He was brought up in a Christian home. Jessie had a great love for the word of God. He enjoyed country western and gospel music.

Jessie attended Pittsylvania County Public Schools. Jessie spent his childhood enjoying life with his siblings, cousins, and friends playing baseball. Later in his teens he met and married the love of his life, Emily Jean Payne.

Jessie migrated from Pittsylvania County as the son of a sharecropper at an early age to Brooklyn, New York with his wife and five children; where he started his own construction business known as Wise Excavating, Inc. He obtained his engineering license as an operator of heavy equipment. Jessie was known as one of the number one black minority contractors in Brooklyn, New York and Tri State area.

One of Wise Excavating slogans was "We move the earth" and that is exactly what he did. Jessie did the excavating for Kings County Hospital, The World Trade Center, Medgar Evers College, York College, Federal courthouse, and many others, to many to mention. Jessie was also acknowledged for the groundbreaking at Barclays Center, not knowing that his great grandson Chayce would one day perform there.

During this journey he worked and met contractors, Urban, Walsh, Soil Solutions, Lequilla and many more. While doing this for decades, Jessie has built legacies, landmarks, and operators all over New York City.

Jessie had a huge love and passion for horses. Jessie was one of the co-founders of the well-known, Federation of Black Cowboys which was created in Brooklyn, New York. This organization was built from a group of black men and the love of the country western life that grew and grew into something amazing. They made a positive impact in the community and for children throughout many states. Horses in the city couldn't get any better!!

Jessie also had a love for collecting antique cars and the farm country life.

Jessie was predeceased by his parents Thomas and Willie Mae Wise; three brothers: Nelis, June, and Algee Wise; three sisters: Catherine Morrison, Theodora and Betty Ann Wise; his wife Emily Jean Wise; three daughters Sharon, Wanda, and Arleen Wise; two sons Wayne and James Wise; two grandsons Skyler and Chance Wise; and his good friend Stencil.

Jessie leaves to cherish his loving memory: his son and daughter in law Melvin Dee Wise and Natalie wise of Richmond, Virginia; two sisters Jannie Fitzgerald and Patsy Gunter of Danville, Virginia; two granddaughters Orisha Wise of Brooklyn, New York and Starlene Austin of Tampa, Florida; grandsons Jay Wise, Tarance and Sean Adams, and Paris Parrish of Brooklyn, New York; two great grandsons Chayce Adams of Brooklyn, New York, and Jaden Austin of Tampa, Florida; one great granddaughter Bella Austin of Tampa, Florida; sister-in-law Diana Wise of Brooklyn, New York. Jessie leaves a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins to cherish his memory. He leaves his closest friends Willie Dunn Jr, Ralph, Donald, and the entire Federation of Black Cowboys.

Funeral Services will be held on Saturday February 10, 2024 at 1PM at Bibleway Cathedral with Dr. Philip Campbell, Eulogist. Interment will follow in Highland Burial Park. A visitation will be held on Friday February 9, 2024 from 5-7 PM at Wilson Funeral Services.

Wilson Funeral Services and Cremation, Inc. is assisting the Wise Family.


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February 9, 2024

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Wilson Funeral Services and Cremation Inc

Funeral Service
February 10, 2024

1:00 PM
Bibleway Cathedral
215 Grant St
Danville, VA 24541

Interment following funeral service
February 10, 2024

Highland Burial Park


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