OBITUARY: Jesse Ray Quirk

Jesse Ray Quirk

Jesse Ray Quirk began his life’s journey on July 20, 1940, in a small home located just outside of Spring Hill, TN in the community of Neapolis. His proud parents were Jesse Lee and Elma Lee (Fly) Quirk who had already started a family with his sister, Gloria Ann (Quirk) Burns. The family would later be joined by brother William Harold Quirk. This family would learn to live off the land and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Jesse Ray, as his family and close friends called him, attended and graduated from Spring Hill School as a proud member of the class of 1958. He went on to enroll at Martin Methodist College leaving there to honorably serve in the United States Navy. He loved telling stories about his travels with the Navy, especially in Sicily and Maine. While in the Navy he had the good fortune to marry Janice Rose (Erwin) Quirk and start their family while stationed in Millington, TN. It was there that their oldest son Jimmy Ray Quirk was born in 1961 at the Naval Hospital. They moved back to Mt. Pleasant, TN in 1963 where he became employed at Mobil Chemical, and in 1964 they added their youngest child, Jeffrey Robert Quirk to their family.

As the chemical plants in Mt. Pleasant began to close Jesse was led to start back to college and earn his teaching degree attending night and summer classes at Columbia State Community College and the University of Tennessee, Nashville. He began his 28-year teaching career in 1974 at Mt. Pleasant High School in Room 2 as the Tennessee History teacher for 7th grade. During his teaching career, he taught many students “to get their ducks in a row”. He remained teaching at MPHS until the new Mt. Pleasant Middle School opened in 2001 and taught there for one year before retiring to become a gentleman farmer on Canaan Road in Mt. Pleasant, TN, a charter member of the Mt. Pleasant McDonald’s Coffee Club, and a longtime member of the Mt. Pleasant First United Methodist Church.

Jesse Ray and Janice moved in 2015 to Wyndham Park in Columbia and passed away on October 27, 2021, following a short illness. The family is extremely grateful to his Wyndham Park friends and neighbors for their support during Jesse Ray’s recent illness. Many thanks go out to Eloise Buchanan and Mary Reel for their care and friendship over the years. Maury Regional Medical Center is to be commended for their extraordinary care during his illness.

Jesse Ray is survived by his wife Janice, son Jeff, daughter–in–law Anna (Wilson) Quirk, grandson Samuel J (as he called him) Quirk. Other survivors are his sister Gloria Ann Burns and sister-in-law Jean (Staggs) Erwin. His nephews and nieces are Phil (Lauri Kay) Burns, Eric Burns, Angela (Doug) Sherrod, Michelle (Tony) Thomas, and Pam (Eric) Strickland. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Lee and Elma Lee Quirk, father and mother-in-law, Leslie and Lillian Erwin, brother, Harold Quirk, brothers-in-law, Leroy Burns and Tommy Erwin, son, Jimmy Quirk, and grandson, Bradley Wilson Quirk.

Active pallbearers are: Sam Quirk, Phil Burns, Randy McNeece, Doug Sherrod, Tony Thomas, Eric Strickland, and Dr. Michael Tyler. Honorary pallbearers are his friends and neighbors of Wyndham Park, the Mt. Pleasant McDonald’s Coffee Club, Eloise Buchanan, and Mary Reel.

Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 1:00 P.M. at First United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant with Reverend Tommy Vann and his grandson Sam Quirk officiating. Burial will follow in McCain’s Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Friday from 4:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. at the funeral home and Saturday from 11:30 A.M. until service time at the church. Condolences may be extended online at

In lieu of flowers and potted plants, the family asks that memorials be made to McCains Cumberland Presbyterian Church 3532 McCains Lane Columbia, Tennessee 38401 or Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt 2200 Children’s Way Nashville, Tennessee 37232.

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