Jesse was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, on July 9, 1935, to Philip George and Jessie Estella Iris Tanis. He graduated from Cabool High School in Cabool, Missouri, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He married Alta Lou Unger in 1957. After serving his country for four years, he was honorably discharged at the rank of aviation electrician first class. Jesse and Alta moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he attended Calvary Bible College, graduating with a bachelor of arts in biblical theology.
In 1970, after several years of mixing college, work, a growing family and pastoral ministry, Jesse and Alta moved with their four young children to Chilanko Forks in the Chilcotin, British Columbia. There, they began a lifelong work with Interact Ministries, sharing God’s love with the people of the Chilcotin, the Cariboo and throughout the western provinces of Canada. They lived in Chilanko Forks, Alexis Creek and Williams Lake, later moving to Quesnel and Kamloops before returning home to Williams Lake to stay. In 2010, after a spirited fight with cancer, Alta went to be with her Lord and Savior. In 2015, at 80 years old and after 45 years of ministry, Jesse retired.
Jesse was predeceased by his parents and beloved wife, Alta; his brothers Philip, Jr., John, Eugene (Vic), and Wesley; and his sister, Marion.
Jesse is survived by sisters Carol Gunter, Beverly Odom, Sonia Brozovich (Joe) and Donna Rokicki; his children, Jon (Tracey), James (Jamie), Ann Shiels (Gordon) and Joel (Trudy); his grandchildren, Jessie Deyo (Toby), Sarah Kobes (Les), Hattie Deyo (Amos), Braden Tanis, Victoria Somerville, Amanda Somerville, Mitchell Somerville, Josh Noble, Nathan Noble, Kaleena Tanis; and great-granddaughters Jael, Violet, Grace, Daniella, Juniper, Anya and Elizabeth. He loved his family and had a special place in his heart for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to the BC Cancer Foundation, Cariboo Church Benevolent Fund or the charity of your choice.