Funeral services for Holdenville resident, Jesse V. Epperson, were held
Saturday, September 4, 2004, 10:30 am at the First Christian Church with
Kevin Worden officiating. Pallbearers were Ronnie Stringfellow, Randy
Denny, Richard Nolen, Harold Gordon, Jake Rhoades and Bobby Rhoades.
Honorary bearers were Jimmy Rodgers, Bill Arthur, Kenneth Hull and John
Stirman. Jess was laid to rest at Holdenville Cemetery under the
direction of Hudson-Phillips Funeral Home.
Jess was born March 22, 1923 in Ada, Oklahoma to Thomas
Epperson and Maggie Davis Epperson. He was raised in Lawrence, south of
Ada, and graduated from high school at Fitzhugh. Jess attended
East Central University for three years. Jess Epperson was a unique
gentleman; he spent his life serving others. As a young man he served
his country in World War II, earning a battlefield commission and
spending a lot of time in the hospital due to wounds. Returning from the
war he served Hughes County as a mailman who was known for his
dedication and desire to help anyone in need. In his spare time he
served the young people of our county as their baseball coach.
jess was known across the state for his managerial ability and he led
the American Legion team to several championships. He not only taught
his players how to win at baseball but also how to win in life by being
honest, hardworking citizens. He was greatly admired by all who played
for him. Holdenville is a great place to live due, in large part, to
people like Jess and Dorothy Epperson.
Jess was a fifty-year American Legion member. He went
into the service January 12, 1943 while he was living in Fitzhugh,
Oklahoma. He was told to report to Fort Sill and from there he went to
Camp McCoin in Mississippi for basic training and then on to Fort
Jackson, South Carolina for Advance Training. After that it was on to
Camp Kilmer, New Jersey for debarkation. Jess said they boarded the
Queen Elizabeth for the overseas trip and landed at Glasgow. They
camped at Leeds, England and from there boarded an L.S.T. for France,
landing at LeHarve, France. From there he moved to the front line.
By that time Jess was a Tech Sergeant and also a Platoon Sergeant.
On January 12, 1944 Jess received a battlefield
commission. Just a few days later he was back in action at the Battle of
the Bulge. On February 6, 1945 Jess was wounded in action in the
first major launch into Germany. He was evacuated to a field hospital
where he was operated on and then, fourteen days later, was evacuated to
the 89th. General Hospital in England. From there he was sent to the
hospital ship USS Huddelston and on to Charleston, South Carolina. Jess
left there to go to Chickasha, Oklahoma then to Ft. Hood, Texas and last
of all to McClosky General Hospital. He was discharged out of the
hospital and retuned to Fitzhugh.
Survivors include his wife of twenty-three
years, Dorothy, of the home; Children: Cheryl Bird and husband,
Ted, of Ada, Oklahoma, Tony Epperson and wife, Norma, of El Reno,
Oklahoma, Paula Rhoades and husband, John, of Holdenville, Oklahoma,
Judy Johnson and husband, Donald, of Bedford, Indiana and Penny Ross and
husband, Scott, of South Carolina; one sister, Peggy Gilliam of
Huntsville, Texas; grandchildren: Shawna and Levi Medlin, Trent,
Hunter and David Epperson, Phil and Glenda Webb, Jacob, Brenda, Bobby,
Billy and Amy Rhoades, Aimee and Kelly Todd, Melinda Ross, Tammy and
John Koplin. Jess also leaves nineteen great grandchildren and a
community of Friends.