Jefferson P. Hightower of Chicago passed away on Friday, March 3, 2000. Mr. Hightower was born in Jackson, Tennessee, on September 16, 1920, the son of James and Lola Hightower. He attended Lane College and while there joined the Kappa Sigma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. The Hightower family moved to Chicago in 1939, and Mr. Hightower continued his matriculation at Roosevelt University.
In October, 1943, Jefferson Hightower married Amelia Stewart and to this union two daugthers and a son were born. His son, Jefferson, preceded him in death.
During World War II, Mr. Hightower served as a tank commander sergeant with the 758th Tank Battalion, an all black unit comprised of 800 black men, This battalion was dissolved after the war and Mr. Hightower joined the Chicago Chapter of the 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association. Upon his honorable discharge, he became a career government employee with the U.S. Postal Service and also served as a union steward until his retirement in 1979. On March 10, 1962, Mr. Hightower married Ernestine Brooks, the mother of four children from a previous union, who preceded him in death.
Mr. Hightower felt that the past should never be forgotten and worked to ensure that the legacy of the 761st Tank Battalion would be remembered. In 1978 a Presidential Unit Citation for Extraordinary Heroism was presented to this unit by President Jimmy Carter. In his role as National President of the 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association, Mr. Hightower spoke before various groups about the history of the 761st.
Mr. Hightower's passing will be deeply felt by his family and friends, especially his daughters, Amelia Honesty and Sylvia Brooks; his step-children, Rowena Barrett, Mark Woosley, and Roscoe Woosley; his sisters, Mary Sarten and Rebecca Braithwaite; his brother, Clifford Hightower; his grandchildren, Lynn Brooks-Darden, Michelle Honesty-Wilson, Phillip Hightower, and Corey Barrett; and a great-grandchild, Brooke Ashlei Darden.
The foregoing material is from Illinois General Assembly Resolution 91-SR0312 that concludes, "therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the Ninety-First General Assembly of the State of Illinois, that we note with sorrow and regret the death of Jefferson P. Hightower and extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends; and be it further resolved, that suitable copies of this resolution be presented to the family of Jefferson P. Hightower."