Jessie Gray (Kennedy) Collett

JANUARY 3, 1922  ~ MARCH 18, 2023

Thursday, March 23, 2023
Service at 2 p.m.
The family will greet friends prior to the service from 12:30 – 1:45 PM in the MUMC Christian Enrichment Center.

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Mrs. Jessie Gray “Babe” Kennedy Collett, of Thomasville, 101 years of age, went home to be with the Lord Jesus Christ on March 18, 2023. She was born on January 3, 1922, in Davidson County and was the youngest child of Robert Kennedy and Etta Burton Kennedy. She grew up in the midst of the Great Depression, and was a 1939 graduate of Hasty High School. Starting in eighth grade she played basketball for four years and loved to share memories of her playing days. On March 17, 1944 she married the love of her life Harrell Clinard Collett, and joined him at various duty stations while he served in the US Naval Air Corp during World War II. After the war they returned to Thomasville and made their home.

She was a member of Zion Reformed Church until marriage, when she joined the Collett family at Main Street Methodist Church. Later she and Harrell became charter/founding members of Memorial United Methodist Church where they were faithful members until their deaths. At Memorial, Jessie was a member of the Austin Elliott Bible Class, the 50+ Good Times Club, United Methodist Women, and volunteered as a receptionist for 12 years. She retired from East Davidson High School in 1987 after working 21 years as a teacher assistant and office assistant.

In addition to her parents, Jessie was preceded in death by her infant son John Robert Collett on March 7, 1947, and her husband Harrell on September 2, 2012. Also preceding her in death were her siblings Woodrow Kennedy and wife Mildred, Robert Lee Kennedy and wife Esther, Shirley Kennedy Murphy and husband Palmer, Irene Kennedy Payne and husband Donald, and Louise Kennedy Sink and husband Leland.

She is survived by her daughter Jane Collett Black; of Thomasville; grandchildren Jeni Black Frient and husband Jeff of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Kevin Black and wife Kimberly of Thomasville, and Keith Black and wife Carmen of Thomasville; great-grandchildren Camelin, Aleksandra, Noah, Anna, Ellie, Audrey, and Tori; sister-in-law Carolyn Collett of Thomasville, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, March 23, at 2:00 PM at Memorial United Methodist Church with Rev. Danny Leonard officiating. Prior to the service, the family will greet friends from 12:30-1:45 PM in the MUMC Christian Enrichment Center. Interment will follow at Holly Hill Memorial Park.

Memorials may be directed to Memorial United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 428, Thomasville, NC 27361, or to Hospice of Davidson County, 200 Hospice Way, Lexington, NC 27292. Online condolences may be sent to the family at