Jesse passed away Aug. 17, 2012, in Huntington Health and Rehabilitation Center in Huntington, W.Va., after complications from a fall.
He was born Sept. 19, 1921, in Anoka, Minn., and was the son of Harvey Burt Bortel and Jessie Avis Patten Bortel. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by brothers, Theodore Raymond Bortel and Harvey Burt Bortel; first wife and mother of his children, Mary Bortel Benson; and his second wife, Stella Hinton Bortel.
Jesse grew up in Dexter City, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., and he participated in bike racing and running track. He was proud that he ran a mile in 4:40 at the Inter-High School meet in Washington, D. C. Following high school, he was accepted for navy cadet training, then sent to Civilian Pilot Training school in Salem, Va. He later moved to Ft. Stockton, Texas, and worked as a civilian flight instructor. When World War II began, he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corp Cadet program, graduating in 1945. He then went thru P-51 fighter pilot school. After WWII, he went to work for Western Electric Company, installing central office telephone equipment. He was an electrician/foreman for the former C&O Railroad for 32 years, even serving as the company's pilot from 1967-1971. Jesse also acquired various aviation ratings on his commercial license of single-engine land and sea, multi-engine, flight instructor and instrument rating, plus a helicopter rating. He instructed and did charter and commercial flying on the side. He also belonged to the National Guard where he flew planes and helicopters. He retired as a Major in 1976.
He joined the Masons in 1952 (32nd degree) and the Shriners in 1971. He was also a member of the Elks. He was a big fan of the Cincinnati Reds and always looked forward to watching them.
He is survived by three children, Patricia Ann Bortel Wilkes (Ernie), Constance Sue Bortel Rutherford (Chuck) and Steve Bortel (Connie Lynn); grandchildren, Jeanette Kettlewell, Kimberly Oxley, Randall Wilkes, Larry Bortel, Bobbi Gilkerson, Alesha Meade and Jacob Bortel; and nine great-grandchildren. He is also survived by special friends Ardis Collins and Jimmie Hall, as well as his buddies at the Ashland Elks.
We want to thank Debbie Martin at the Bellefonte Rehabilitation Center, King's Daughters ICU, Cabell Huntington 2N, St. Mary's, Heartland of Riverview and Huntington Health and Rehabilitation for the care given to our dad.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Steen Funeral Home-13th Street Chapel in Ashland. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Burial Park in Ashland.
Visitation will begin at noon Tuesday prior to the funeral services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the BPOE Elks, Ashland Lodge 350.
Condolences may be made to steenfuneralhome.com.
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 1:00pm