Jairus "JC" Chavis Wilson

November 4, 1935 ~ November 30, 2022 (age 87) 87 Years Old
Read more about the life story of Jairus "JC" and share your memory.    


The Celebration of Life Service for Mr. Wilson will be live streamed on the Facebook Page of Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor.



Remembering His Life

 Jairus Chavis “JC” Wilson was a kind and loving man.  He was a devoted husband, doting father, protective brother, supportive uncle, caring cousin, committed church member, dedicated deacon, fierce fireman, fantastic friend, and above all else, a God-fearing man.


Early Years

On November 4, 1935, the late Julius Carl “JC” Wilson and Flora Hazel Coulter Wilson welcomed Jairus, their first-born child, into the world.  He spent his early years in Newton, North Carolina with his parents and younger sisters, Hazel Matilda (deceased) and Vonnie Raye.  From the beginning, Jairus was taught the Word of God and grew to know and love the Lord for himself.  In the early 1940s, Jairus publicly dedicated his life to God and was baptized in the Catawba River.  And so began his journey of living a life that exuded the love of Jesus.

In Durham, the Wilsons lived next door to Rev. Dr. Miles Mark Fisher and his family.  The two families became more than just neighbors, they adopted each other’s kids.  It was through these family connections that Jairus and Elijah J. “Pookey” Fisher became life-long friends.  They even discussed their mutual interests in mortuary science and dedicating their lives to serving families during the most vulnerable moments in life.

 Education, Military Years, and Career

After graduating from Hillside High School in 1952, Jairus spent two years studying biology at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University) before enrolling in mortuary science school.  After completing a tour of duty in the United States Air Force, Jairus returned to Durham and helped “Pookey” and his brother Chris with their new funeral parlor.

While in the Air Force, Jairus served on the fire crew.  This assignment led to a 30-year career of firefighting, fire safety, and fire prevention.  Perhaps Jairus was pre-destined from an early age to have a career in fire because his sisters loved to talk about the time he purposely set his mother’s curtains ablaze.

 Jairus was raised in a musical family.  Both his parents sang in church choirs and his mother made sure he and his sisters took piano lessons.  At almost every stage in life, Jairus embraced music, most often in the form of singing.  Because of his upbringing, it was a given that he would use his melodious tenor voice in the church choir..  However, while he was in the Air Force, Jairus and four other servicemen form a quintet and named it “The No Notes”.

The Love Story

In 1947, the Wilsons moved to Durham, North Carolina and joined Mount Vernon Baptist Church.  It was here, that Hazel made friends with a little girl named Velma Jean Sims.  It was convenient, perhaps divinely orchestrated, that Hazel’s new friend was in the same 5th grade class and lived two blocks from the Wilsons.  This gave Jairus ample opportunities to see Velma.  During a round of “The Gossip Game” as teenagers, where participants whisper a message to be passed down a line of people, Jairus gathered the courage to send a message down the line letting Velma know that he liked her.  From there, the courtship began and blossomed into a loving 64-year marriage.  On November 30, 2022, at 11:30 PM, with Velma by his side, God paused their earthly love story when He called Jairus home.  As Jairus slipped away, Velma whispered to him that she would see him on the other side.

 Family and Church Man

On September 27, 1958, Jairus and Velma were joined in Holy matrimony.  After eight years of marriage, the couple welcomed their first child.  The story has been told that when Jairus received the call that Velma was in labor, he was so excited that he left the fire station, unknowingly sped past his expectant wife and mother-in-law on the road and beat them to the hospital.  When Jairus became the proud father of a son in 1971, he bestowed upon his son his initials – J.C.W. – to honor the tradition started by his father. 

Jairus was truly the head of his household just as Jesus Christ is the head of the church.  This was evident in the way he led his family in the ways of Christ.  He lived with integrity and believed in and practiced doing what was right and good; and desired for others to do the same.  Nothing bothered him more than people who did not keep their word or as he said, “just won’t do right”.  Jairus was generous and had a passion for serving and helping others.  It was common to see him selflessly assisting others, especially the elderly and young people.  His love for children was evident, not only in the way he reared his biological children, but in the way he interacted with his children’s friends, kids at church and in the community, and especially his 5th grade Durham City Schools students whom he taught Fire Safety.  To this day, those students (now adults) remember Mr. Wilson, who they fondly called the “Fire Chief”, teaching them how to put out a grease fire and how to stop, drop, and roll.  After retiring from the City of Durham, Jairus returned to the school system as a bus driver.  He loved driving the children safely to and from school.  He took the time to encourage and mentor the students on his bus routes.  And one of the most important lessons he taught them was punctuality because if they were late to the bus stop, he would leave them.  When parents confronted him about leaving their children, he would tell the parent, “You got to get them here on time!”  He loved children and always placed himself in positions to assist in the development of young people.  He was everybody’s daddy and encouraged younger generations to excel and be the best that God would have them to be.

 He had a presence in the lives of kids that attended Mount Vernon’s Sunday School.  He especially loved the role of Youth Sunday School Superintendent.  This gave him an opportunity to both spiritually impact the lives of young people and plan enjoyable outings for them.  As superintendent, Jairus instituted the Banner of Week, which was awarded to the youth class with the most attendees and he granted the teenage girls leadership responsibilities when he chose them to be Sunday School secretaries.  In the early 1990s, he also broke the tradition of selecting only girls when he appointed his nephew, Rick Smith, to be the first male Youth Sunday School secretary.

Every summer, kids in the Youth Sunday School Department looked forward to trips to Carowinds or Kings Dominion.  During the cooler months, Jairus arranged trips to see the Harlem Globetrotters at The Dorton Arena (Raleigh) and the taping of WWF wrestling matches at WRAL-TV studios (Raleigh).  In the early 1980s, Superintendent Wilson collaborated with Mount Gilead Baptist Church (Durham) and Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church (a predominately white church in Chapel Hill) to plan overnight retreats for Mount Vernon’s high schoolers to study the Bible, explore their own spirituality, and learn to commune with people of different races.  In later years, Superintendent Wilson chaperoned Mount Vernon’s youth to the week-long Lott Carey Youth Seminar.  He enjoyed serving as Athletic Director for Mount Vernon’s basketball team.  Jairus loved working with his coaches, Deacons Herman Thomas and the late Treadway Fierce, and the cheerleaders and their advisors.

Without a doubt, the Sunday School Christmas plays were a favorite of his.  Working with the teachers, staff, students, and volunteers to tell the story of Jesus’s birth bought special warmth to his heart.  It also gave Jairus an opportunity to enlist the help of his wife and children to fill bags of fruit, candy, and Bible verses that would be handed out to the students following the play and a special visit from Santa Claus.  Jairus believed in each and every one of those kids and he wanted them to know the love of God just as he did.

Perhaps the deepest love for children came upon the arrival of his granddaughters.  He loved to spoil them and always kept something going with them.  Every afternoon when he would get home from his bus route, he transformed into the “Backwards Man” and teased Brooke by saying everything backwards like “Cheese & Macaroni” or “Gravy & Rice” just so she could correct him over and over.  When the family would go out to eat, he allowed Erin to crawl into his lap and eat all his food, even though a kid’s meal had been ordered for her.  Velma would lean over and ask, “Do you want me to order something else for you?”, he would smile and say “Naw, I’m alright”.

 It was important for Jairus to be at his children and grandchildren’s events.  He made it a point to be there to see them perform and receive awards.  He never complained when his own children volunteered him to chaperone their school field trips.  Even though they committed him without checking his schedule first, Jairus always took the day off and made it a point to be available to his children.  It was only fitting for him to become a band parent when his daughter was in high school.  She absolutely loved it because that meant she had an endless bank to buy souvenirs.  What she did not know is that her father was also financing souvenirs for other band students as well.  And then there were the band students that nicknamed him “Mr. C.I.A.” because he was always alert and on duty, walking the halls of the hotel and catching them when they tried to stretch the curfew.  One student asked, “Mr. Wilson, do you ever go to sleep?” His response was, “I’ll go to sleep when you go to sleep.” 

Uncle “JC” and Uncle Jairus

Jairus loved his nieces and nephews.  He treated them like they were his own children.  He always greeted them with a hug and a smile.  He loved to laugh and joke with them.  Two of his nephews always got “special treatment”:  Tony Smith whom he shared his birth date and the love of bowling and LeVon Pretty whom he loved to debate about the Cowboys and the Redskins (Washington Commanders).  Regardless the time of day, be it face-to-face or phone call, those were always lively conversations.

Although, he moved from Newton at an early age, Jairus never forgot his roots.  He always reverenced being a leaf on the C.D. Wilson family tree.  He was proud to represent the J.C. Wilson branch and in later years enjoyed working with his cousin Patricia Coulter to plan the annual reunions.  He considered it a blessing to carry on the traditions established by his father, aunts, and uncles.  Jairus will be missed by his cousins whom he treated like brothers and sisters.

In addition to his biological children, nieces, and nephews, Jairus claimed five special women as his daughters.  These jewels, the Stewart Sisters (Paula, Barbara, Jackie, and Jeanine) and Nora Daye, treated him royally and made sure he never wanted for anything.

Hobbies and Other Interests

Jairus was also known for his love of bowling, playing pinochle, planting flowers, and grooming his yard.  He took bowling and his flowers seriously.  They were his outlets.  For years, he bowled with several bowling leagues, and he was a member of the Mount Vernon Floral Club.  People were always welcomed to visit his home and he didn’t mind folks parking in the steep, downhill driveway.  His only concern was if the driver could back out without running into his grass or over his flowers.  Planting flowers and making floral arrangements were therapeutic for him.  He saw it as a service to others because beautiful flowers always bring about a smile.

 Known for his passionate support of the NCCU Eagles, Jairus attended football games, basketball games, and baseball games on a regular basis.  As mentioned before, Jairus had a passion for doing what was good and right and he let the game referees know when they did neither in favor of his Eagles.  He and Velma regularly travelled to the CIAA Tournament to support their Eagles.

Without question Jairus lived a full life.  There are so many memories to share of “JC” that it would take hours to share a fraction of them.  In the days that come, all can agree that Jairus Chavis Wilson was a kind and loving man.  He was a devoted husband, doting father, protective brother, supportive uncle, caring cousin, committed church member, dedicated deacon, fierce fireman, fantastic friend, and above all else, a God-fearing man.  He will be missed.

Jairus leaves to cherish his memories his wife, Velma Jean Sims Wilson; one daughter, Adrienne Lynette Wilson Barnes (Wesley) of Raleigh, NC; one son, Jevon Curtis Wilson of the home; one sister, Vonnie Raye Wilson Carrington (Arthur “Art”) of Alton, Illinois; one brother-in-law, John Wilbert “Bo” Smith of Durham; two granddaughters, Brooke Alexandria Barnes and Erin Victoria Barnes of Raleigh, NC; two uncles, Lewis David Wilson (Agnes) and Henry Howard Wilson both of Cleveland, OH; two aunts, Gladys Wilson McCorkle of Newton, NC and Goldie Royster Wilson of Warrenton, NC; eight nephews, Anthony “Tony” Smith, Ricardo “Rick” Smith, Fred “Ricky” Pretty (Deborah), Ronald LeVon Pretty (Diane), Garland “Guy” Pretty; Michael D. Pretty (Felecia); Aaron “June” Pretty, and Clinton L. Pretty; four nieces, Karmyn J. Carrington, Gwenyth Young (Anthony), Vanessa Pretty Hines, and Sharon Pretty Bynum; and a host of great nephews and great nieces, cousins and friends.  His sister, Hazel Matilda Wilson Smith, preceded him in death in 2004.

His Journey’s Just Begun

by Ellen Brenneman


Don’t think of him as gone away

his journey’s just begun,

life holds so many facets

this earth is but one.


Just think of him as resting

from the sorrows and the tears

in a place of warmth and comfort

where there are no days and years.


Think how he must be wishing

that we could know today

how nothing but our sadness

can really pass away.


And think of him as living

in the hearts of those he touched…

for nothing loved is ever lost

and he was loved so much.


Acknowledging His Accomplishments

A Biographical Sketch


Joined Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Durham, NC in 1947
Ordained as Deacon -  March 5, 1972
Honored as Deacon Emeritus – September 19, 2021
Superintendent, Youth Church School Department
Superintendent, Adult Church School Department
Member, T. L. Rowland Bible Class; served as president for two years
Member, Celestial Choir; served as president for eight (8) years
Member, Male Chorus
Member, Scholarship Committee
Member, Family Day Committee
Member, Policies and Procedures Committee
Member, Floral Club
Member, Health Team
Vice Chairman, Transportation Committee
Athletic Director, Youth Sports Program for 15 years
Member, Mount Vernon Credit Union – Board Member
Member, Media Ministry
Member, Safety and Security Team



Graduated Hillside High School, June 1952
Attended North Carolina Central University, 1952-54, concentration in Biology
Graduated John A. Gupton School of Mortuary Science, Nashville, TN, 1955
Graduated Durham Business College, degree in business administration, 1963



1957 - 1961  The United States Air Force



1961-1963  Amey’s Funeral Home
1963-          Fisher Funeral Parlor & Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor
1963-1993  City of Durham’s Fire Department as a fireman and fire inspector
September 1979 - June 1993 - Taught fire education to 5th graders in the Durham City Schools
January 1, 1993 - RETIRED from City of Durham
November 1, 1993 - 2016:   Part-time school bus driver for Durham Public Schools
1994 – Taught the use of fire extinguishers to prospective school bus drivers



Member, North Carolina Central University Educational Foundation (EAGLE CLUB)
Member, North Carolina Fire Education Committee
Member, Board of Directors, Durham Day Care, 1992-1997
Member, Board of Directors, Mount Vernon Baptist Church Credit Union
Member, A. S. Hunter Lodge
Member, Hillside Band Parents’ Organization 1980-1984; served as president - 1983-84
Member, Hazel B. Plummer Bowling League and the RTI Bowling League


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jairus "JC" Chavis Wilson, please visit our floral store.


December 7, 2022

1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor
3137 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707

December 8, 2022

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Mount Vernon Baptist Church
1007 S. Roxboro Street
Durham, NC 27707

Celebration of Life
December 8, 2022

12:00 PM
Mount Vernon Baptist Church
1007 S. Roxboro Street
Durham, NC 27707

Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event

In Loving Memory Of

Jairus "JC" Wilson

November 4, 1935-November 30, 2022

Look inside to read what others
have shared

Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   

Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event


In Loving Memory Of

Jairus "JC" Wilson

November 4, 1935-November 30, 2022

Look inside to read what others have shared

Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


© 2023 Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility