The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 3, 2013




MIDDLETOWN, CONN. — Jessie Lee (Daniels) Highsmith, 78, passed away peacefully at Water’s Edge Rehabilitation Center on September 30, 2013. Born on September 7, 1935 in Pinetops, NC, she was the daughter of the late Jesse and Doreather (Daniels) Mitchell. Jessie came to Middletown in 1957 and began her lifetime of giving back.

Whether serving as the president of the Long River Village Tenants Association; campaigning with the Middletown Democratic Town Committee; advocating for education with the State Title I program; serving as secretary/treasurer Community Action of Greater Middletown; as a board member of Connecticut Legal Services; as the secretary of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for over 40 years and most recently was the Mother of the Church; Jessie exemplified a full commitment to faith, family and community. She was love in action and never met a stranger.

She was the recipient of several awards and special recognition,  including 1988 Junior Woman’s Club Person of the Year and  Connecticut Bar Association Liberty Bell Award.

Along with her parents, Jessie was predeceased by her husband, Douglas Highsmith and daughter, Mazie L. Highsmith. She leaves her son, Douglas Highsmith Jr. (Jennifer) Middletown; daughters: Carolyn Leary (Meriden, Conn.),  Margaret Highsmith (NC), Diane Johnson (Mass.), and Yvette Highsmith Francis (Bristol, Conn.). In addition, she leaves her aunt Margaret Sessoms (NC), 17 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and special friends.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, October 4  at 11 a.m. at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 346 Butternut St.,  Middletown,  with the Rev. Dr. W. Vance Cotton, Sr. officiating.  Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery. Friends and family may call from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning at the church and to share memories or send messages of condolence to the family, please visit  HYPERLINK ""

Doolittle Funeral Home, 14 Old Church Street, Middletown is handling the arrangements.