- Bobby Ray Jessen, 85

Bobby Ray Jessen, 85

Funeral services for Bobby Ray Jessen of Fordland and formerly of Diggins were held Friday, April 2, 2021, in the First Baptist Church of Seymour.

Burial followed in the Union Chapel Cemetery in Fordland, under the direction of the Holman-Howe Funeral Home of Seymour.

Mr. Jessen, 85, died Monday, March 29, 2021, in his home.

He was born on Feb. 23, 1936, in Mountain View, Ark., to Ulis and Elva Partee Jessen.

He was a member of the class of 1954 at Mountain View High School.

In 1955, he joined the U.S. Air Force.

On April 7, 1956, he married Norma Lee Ward; to this union, three sons were born.

In 1965, the Jessens relocated to Springfield, where he first earned a degree from Drury University, then a master’s degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

He began his commendable teaching career in the early 1970s as a computer-programming professor at Graff Vo-Tech, now Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) in Springfield.

He retired from OTC in May 2002 after 30 years of dedication to his students, staff and school. For a time, he served as President of Springfield Teachers’ Association.

In 1969, he moved his family to rural Diggins, and his sons attended Seymour schools. He was a devoted dad, always supporting his sons in school sports, and this enthusiasm continued long after they graduated.

He was one of the most-dedicated sports fans of the Seymour school’s athletic programs, rarely missing a game, and he was even honored with his own seat in the school gym.

He enjoyed golfing and played as often as he could.

He farmed in the Grovespring area.

He was mayor of Diggins in the 1980s.

He was a longtime member of the Diggins Baptist Church and later the First Baptist Church in Seymour; he continued to attend until his health would not allow.

In 1984, he became an ordained minister and would be a fill-in pastor for area Baptist churches.

He taught adult Sunday school and served as a deacon.

Preceding him in death were his parents; his beloved wife, Norma, in July 2010; his son, Mike; his grandsons, Bryan Jessen and Tanner Jessen; and four brothers-in-law, Bill Whitfield, Von Ward, Carol Ward and Kenneth Ward.

Survivors include his sons, Ed Jessen of Diggins and Wayne Jessen and wife Lisa of Fordland; his daughter-inlaw, Melanie Carden-Jessen of Springfield; six grandsons; seven great-grandchildren; his sisters, Faye Whitfield and Sue and Weldon Duncan; his brothers, Ralph and Karen Jessen, Keith and Sonja Jessen; one brother-in-law, Fred and Joan Ward; and three sisters-in-law, Billie and Lon C. Simpson, Betty Ward and Lila Ward.

Online condolences may be left at www.holmanhowe.com.

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