Jesse Bethea (Zett) Hearin, Jr. passed away on June 20, 2022, in Gainesville, Georgia. He was 98 years old. Zett was born on November 1, 1923 in Montgomery, Alabama to Jesse and Johnny (Kennedy) Hearin. His family moved to New Orleans, LA when Zett was ten. He graduated from Marion Military Institute in Alabama and entered West Point in July 1942 on the full-time accelerated wartime 3-year course. Zett received his wings on graduation day in June 1945.
Zett’s service career included two years of occupation duty on Okinawa and one year in Korea. He considered his tour as the first United States Air Force exchange pilot with the United States Marine Corps as the highlight of his single engine fighter pilot experience. He flew just about all the USAF aircraft, including the P40, P47, P51 aircraft, as well as the F80, F84, and F86 jets. In the Marine Corps he flew the F4U and the F9F. He received an MBA from the USAF Institute of Technology in 1952.
In July 1955, he married the love of his life, Marie Elise (Malee) Amoss of New Orleans. He left the Air Force for a job with General Electric in 1956. He spent most of his time with GE in Cincinnati, Ohio with shorter tours in Erie, Philadelphia, and Dayton. In Cincinnati, he was the Business Manager of GE’s largest military project (J7 engine) and later the Business Manager of GE’s latest commercial project. He served as Regional Manager in Philadelphia and Dayton. Zett retired from General Electric in 1984.
Zett and Malee relocated to Pass Christian, Mississippi where he worked as a stockbroker until a unique family opportunity presented itself. Malee’s culinary start up business was growing to the point where she needed Zett’s business expertise and experience. They grew the business together, sold it in 1988 and really began retirement, in earnest, at that time. Malee’s idea of retirement was a chance to see the world, and that they did. They saw much of the world and enjoyed travelling with other couples. Zett cherished the many friendships he made during his life.
Malee and Zett moved to Gainesville following Hurricane Katrina in 2006 and immediately immersed themselves in the Lanier Village Estate (LVE) community. Zett enjoyed golf, tennis, bridge and pickleball. He volunteered and led the Serenity Seekers at LVE for many years, tutored students in the local school system and regularly delivered the mail to residents on the halls of Willowbrook. He loved attending the services at the lake at Gainesville United Methodist Church and socializing with the other residents at LVE.
Zett was the Great Patriarch of his family. He deeply loved his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchild, nieces, nephews, and their families. His sense of duty extended to his entire extended family, and he enjoyed providing for them, encouraging them, and cheering on their victories. Having Zett on your side was one of the greatest gifts you could ever receive. He attended each graduation wedding, birth, or other family milestone he possibly could. His quick wit and charm endeared him to everybody. He was funny, kind, and as dependable as they get.
Zett is survived by his bride of 67 years, Malee, daughters Misty (David) Schmitt of Rocky Mount, NC and Courtney (Jorge) Rios of El Paso, TX, son Jesse B. (Jay) Hearin, III of Pass Christian, MS, seven grandchildren, one great grandchild and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, June 23rd at 1:00 p.m. at Lanier Village Estates Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
Those wishing to send online condolences to the family may do so at littledavenport.com
Little & Davenport Funeral Home and Crematory, 355 Dawsonville Highway, SW, Gainesville, Georgia 30501 is in charge of arrangements.