The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Obituaries

October 9, 2013

Jesse Leroy Hemphill Sr.

JOHNSTOWN — HEMPHILL – Jesse Leroy Sr.,  93, Johnstown, departed this life Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, following an acute illness. Born Jan. 24, 1920, in Lafayette, Ga., son of Samuel Emmett and Lonnie (Haselrig) Hemphill. Predeceased by his beloved wife of 60 years, Mary Elizabeth (Hill), who passed in 2000; and all of his brothers and sisters, Elizabeth (Richardson-Hardison), James, Ralph, Russell, Romaine Womack, Rayford and Raymond. Survived by his children, Lawrence, and wife, Gwendolyn; and Eileen, all of Washington, D.C.; Leroy Jr., and wife, Ronda; and Lester, all of Johnstown; and Penelope Kirkwood, Anchorage, Alaska. Leroy also leaves 13 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, family and friends. He was a 1939 graduate of Johnstown High School and served in the Army during World War II as a first sergeant. He was an employee of Bethlehem Steel Corp. for several years and later retired from Conemaugh & Blacklick Railroad with 38 years of service. Following retirement, he immersed himself in projects and activities designed to improve his community and boost civic pride. He was a founding member and vice president of Prospect Community Action Council and a past recipient of NAACP Heritage Leader Award. His contributions as an oral historian are documented in the film “We’ll Make the Journey” produced by the Pennsylvania State Historical Commission. Most recently, he joined in launching the African American Heritage Society Inc., which seeks to establish a permanent presence in the Discovery Center in Johnstown. Leroy was an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church and a former member of Trinity Asbury Methodist Church. He leaves a legacy of love and friendship to all those whose lives he touched. Family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Trinity United Methodist Church, Somerset Street and Willow Street, Kernville, where homegoing service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, the Rev. Edward C. Patterson, officiating, the Rev. Louis M. Richardson Jr., eulogist. Committal, Grandview Cemetery. Moskal-Reid Funeral Home, West End, is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial  contributions to African American Heritage Society Inc., c/o First Summit Bank, 600 Main St., Johnstown, Pa. 15901.

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