Jesse Weldon Harrington died on Monday, February 29, 2016, just before celebrating his 99th birthday.
Jesse was born in Merry Oaks on March 25, 1917, son of the late Henry and Mary Uva Harrington. He was a graduate of Elon University and earned advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was in command of submarine chasers in the Philippines and Hawaiian Islands. He continued to serve in the Naval Reserve for 23 years.
As a dedicated lifelong educator, he began his career as a teacher in Wilmington, and soon became the principal at Bradley’s Creek School, followed by Winter Park School, Sunset Junior High School and New Hanover High School. The family moved to Burlington in 1962, where he was principal at Walter Williams High School until his retirement in 1979. In addition to his love of education, he was a passionate fisherman and thus, he returned to Wilmington and could be found every morning at the Johnnie Mercer pier. Missing the classroom, he also worked part-time at Cape Fear Technical Institute.
He was a member of the NCEA, NEA, NASSP, Horace Mann League, Rotary Clubs in Wilmington and Burlington, the Community Council of Alamance County, the Burlington Human Relations Council, and served on the boards of Front Street United Methodist Church and Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. He was a past member of the NC Committee of Southern Association of Secondary Colleges and Schools, and a past president of the NC High School Athletic Association.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Edna Alene Barrier Harrington; sons, Edward M. Harrington (Beth) and Louis H. Harrington of Greensboro; grandchildren, Edward Harrington of New York and Elizabeth Harrington Payonk (Phil) of Greensboro; and three great-grandchildren, Liza, Mac and Ward Payonk of Greensboro. He was preceded in death by brothers, William and Maurice Harrington; and sister, Josephine Bland.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 1401 S. College Road, Wilmington NC, 28403; or to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC, 28401.
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