When I was appointed to the Classified Personnel Commission and a vacancy became available on this three-member commission, I called on Jess to be appointed. Jess had to convince the other member to vote for him after the interview, which was no problem because Jess was a likeable man. When I was elected to the school board it was Jess who voted to appoint our friend Wilbur Brown to replace me on the commission. Jess served the district very well and with distinction.
I called on Jess another time after he was elected to the San Bernardino City Council and the city had a gang problem. We brought together the city and school district to form a unified Gang Task Force to combat the gang culture that was interrupting our educational system. We pulled together our friends from the community and financial resources to assist with paying staff to carry out the tasks we agreed to do.
When people saw the city and schools working together it made a difference and Jess had a reputation for integrity and decision making abilities that instilled trust. Our relationship and friendship was built on trust and we never had to talk about our racial differences, we knew others would draw strength from our example and put aside their biases and come together for the betterment of the community. He was never abrasive or confrontational with people but would hold his ground and smile at the end of making his point. It was at that point you knew you were going his way.
When Cheryl decided to run for the Assembly, two of the first people she contacted to get support from were Jess and his wife Terri. She valued their friendship and opinion on how to make her election a reality.
The community has lost one of its finest citizens and I have lost a friend but I will not forget what Jess has done to enrich my life and make San Bernardino a better place to live. He was a trustworthy, loyal, kind, and true friend.
Jess was born in Indio and graduated from Coachella Valley Union High School. A veteran of the U.S. Army and retired from government service as a Contracts Specialist, he spent most of his adult years living in San Bernardino, where he donated his time to many causes and to the betterment of the city. For many years, Jess volunteered his time to help with San Bernardino schools, Boy Scouts of America, City Parks & Recreation Commission, School Personnel Board and also served as a City Councilman.
Jess leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 60 years, Teresa, his three sons, John, Andrew and Terence, ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He also leaves a brother, Martín and sisters, Rosalie, Esther, Cecelia and his sister Emelia who preceded him in death.