Jessie James Mack
April 16, 1944 – May 8, 2019
Jessie James Mack, age 75 passed away on May 8, 2019. He is survived by his daughter Nichole Evette Mack. The 75-year-old Mack died this week after a battle with cancer. His death has hit the law enforcement community hard, leaving all who knew and loved him grief stricken.“I’m heartbroken,’’ said Homewood police Officer Kevin Batchelor. “He was one of the best officers and finest persons I’ve been blessed to have met.”“His body just finally gave up,’’ Ross said. “One of our officers was there with him at the hospital and got to talk to him before he died. He was very alert and in good spirits".
Mack, who lived in Leeds, joined the Homewood force on Dec. 1, 1974. He retired Oct. 31, 2006. In 2011, he returned to Homewood to serve as a Municipal Court bailiff and remained in that position until this week. Jessie Mack made history in 1974 when he joined the Homewood Police Department, becoming the first African-American officer to work in the predominately-white over-the-mountain area. “It wasn’t something he bragged about, or even mentioned, but I think he was quietly proud of that,’’ said Homewood Police Chief Tim Ross. “That contributed to his legendary status in our department, if not in the police community as a whole.” Mack was very involved with The Exceptional Foundation in Homewood, where he took his daughter every day.
Ross worked with Mack for 18 years, and said Mack was a veteran patrol officer when Ross got hired. “He was always somebody you revered,’’ the chief said. “It was just the way he carried himself and the respect and influence he had over all the young officers.” “I learned very quickly that he was well-known through the Birmingham area,’’ Ross said. “Whenever somebody found out where I worked, they would inevitably ask me if I knew Jessie Mack because he was so well-liked and so well-thought-of.” Mack was known for many things, but none more than the impact he made on each new officer when they joined the force. “He was already one of the ‘old guys’ at Homewood PD when I started in ’93 and he always acted gruff toward the rookies,’’ Batchelor said, “but he was like a papa lion watching over his man cubs, teaching them how to hunt and survive and be men.” “I quickly learned to watch and listen to what he said and did, and it molded me as an officer,’’ Batchelor said. “I never told him, but he was one of my greatest mentors on the job.” “More than once he saved my rear while rolling around in a knock-down, drag-out fight,’’ Batchelor said. “Jessie was the ‘cavalry.’ Whenever I saw him show up to a situation, I knew everything was going to be alright.” Ross said Mack had a reputation for being tough on crime. “He really enjoyed catching the bad guy and seeing justice served,’’ he said, “but he also was extremely fair, kind and generous to people who needed service.”Retired Homewood police Lt. Dan Smith said Mack was one of the finest police officers he had ever know. “We all loved him like a brother and he loved us,’’ Smith said. “Whenever I went any place with him, I knew two things - we were going to get there in land-speed-record time, and I would be safe. Regardless of where we went or what we were doing, I was never worried about anything happening that he couldn’t handle. Because Jessie Mack knew how to take care of business.”
Visitation will be held at Ridout's Valley Chapel in Homewood on Saturday, May 18, 2019 beginning at 12 noon with a memorial service with police honors following at 2 pm.
“I’ll never forget his smile. I’ll never forget his sideways glance when you were telling him something he didn’t quite believe. Still smiling. I feel like he’s still smiling now,’’ Smith posted on Facebook.
“Farewell Jessie. It was the honor of a lifetime being your friend.”
- Visitation Saturday, May 18, 2019
- Memorial Service Saturday, May 18, 2019
Jessie James Mack
May 17, 2019
I will never forget the gentle giant, Jessie Mack. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a few years ago, and his presence in our congregation was a blessing to all of us. His glorious smile, firm handshake, and sweet spirit are already greatly missed. Even during his illness, he came to church whenever possible, and we loved him dearly. I appreciate the great tributes that have been paid to his incredible legacy as a Homewood police officer. How truly blessed we are to have known Brother Mack. My heart goes out to Nicole and the rest of the family. May you feel the peace and love of Jesus Christ during this time of grief.
May 17, 2019
Truly a gift to have known Jessie.. truly a gift that he knew so many of us while we were in high school. Jessie was most certainly the police officer you wanted on your side and without us even knowing, he watched out for us all! He was a friend, he was loved and he was respected. Almost 40 years later, his name still comes up in conversation! For all of our “curbside” talks, I appreciated you, watching over me!! You will be greatly missed!! Continue to watch over us all.
May 16, 2019
It's so sad to hear of Jessie's passing. Jessie was a great guy and a good friend. Growing up as a kid in Homewood we all looked up to Jessie Mack. Later in life I had the opportunity to work weekends with Jessie as he worked as our Security Officer at Adam's. I have so many fond memories of our times together. Jessie will be truly missed. Rest in peace my friend!
May 16, 2019
It was truly a pleasure and great honor working side by side with you , Jessie at Homewood Municipal Court under Judge Jones as I worked for UAB TASC Court Referral Program. Your smile and laughter which you maintain the order in the court and made us laugh. I will truly miss you friend and being a great inspiration giving me advice on life. You will never be forgotten. Continue to rest until we meet one day. Miss you, Jessie
May 14, 2019
RIP JESSIE. FOREVER IMPRINTED IN OUR HEARTS. WHITNER FAMILY