Rites held for Nathaniel Harvey Jeter

Published 4:07 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nathaniel Harvey Jeter, 91, of Victoria, Va., went to be with the Lord on August 27, 2016.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 65 years, Melba Eloise Conatser Jeter; his parents, Lucius Herbert Jeter and Annie Thelma Harding Jeter; and his brother, Herbert Willard Jeter.

Jeter is survived by his three children, Joan Gail Jeter Zava (Bobby), Edward Harvey Jeter (Robi), Melba Jean Jeter Kunath (Charles); eight grandchildren, Anna J. Bolling ( Brandon), Willard H. Jeter (Naomi), Michelle Z. Bolter (Barney), MelbaDale J. Parrish (Ryan), Sarah J. Kunath, Lewis E. Zava, Emily A. Kunath, and Callie E. Kunath: nine great- grandchildren, Mackenzie L. Bolling, Lane B. Bolter, Eli J. Bolling, Abigail A. Jeter, Judd R. Bolter, Lyla D. Jeter, Jack E. Bolling, Wesley June Parrish, Daine H. Jeter; a devoted sister, Estelle Jeter Bourne; sister in law, Isabell C. Snelson (Bob) and brother-in-law, Orval Conatser; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Jeter was born on November 16, 1924, in Lunenburg County. He grew up with his older brother, Willard, and older sister, Estelle, in the Ontario area of rural Lunenburg County near Rehoboth on his parent’s cattle and tobacco farm.

His family survived the Great Depression by raising food, hogs and cows. They would travel to town and trade eggs and butter for sugar and coffee. Not until he was older did he realize the bullets his father gave him weekly were providing his family with rabbits and squirrels to eat. His father cashed in his life insurance policies to help them survive the Depression. He and his sister never really knew they were poor.

He got out of bed early every morning to milk 12 cows and keep the fire going in the house. He remembers walking to Kenilworth School wearing a pair of overalls with a pocket knife in the pocket, a blue work shirt and boots to school every day. He and his friends often rode their bicycles to Victoria, Chase City or Keysville, sometimes seeing a movie for only 15 cents. His family regularly enjoyed corn huskings, barn raisings and card playing with their neighbors. He also loved listening to baseball on the radio with his brother and his mom. He often mentioned that he wanted to play professional baseball.

After seventh grade, he attended VHS and graduated at the age of 15. He loved going to town and making new friends. Prior to graduation, he carved 138 scaled models of WWII aircraft to use for identification.

On Feb. 29, 1944, Jeter entered the Aviation Cadet Program. He was later assigned to the Aerial Gunnery School at the Laredo, Texas Air Force Base. Nathaniel Harvey Jeter, “Nat” as he was known, served as an aerial gunner on a B-24 bomber (Liberator) with the 8th Air Force, 44th Bomb group in the 68th squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps. He served in the European Theater of Operations, stationed in England and flew 11 missions over Germany. He was a proud member of a 10-man crew and was discharged Jan. 11, 1946.

After the war, he returned to Lunenburg County to aid his parents on the farm and to help provide care for his paralyzed brother, Willard, who had been wounded in the breakthrough at the Battle of St. Lo., France.

He attended Columbia Technical Institute in Washington, D.C., on the G.I. Bill. He received his associate’s Degree in Drafting. He met his wife, Melba, in a neighboring boarding house in D.C. and married her on June 9, 1950, in a double wedding ceremony, with her sister, Isabell, and brother-in-law, Bob, in Ashdown, Ark.

He began his teaching career as a shop and agriculture teacher at VHS and then taught drafting and building trades at Central High School. He retired in 1984 after dedicating 34 years to teaching in Lunenburg County. He made numerous lasting connections with students over the years.

Jeter was very active in making Victoria a better place. He devoted countless hours to working on the fields at Victoria High School, and was instrumental in the construction of the football field and surrounding buildings at Central High School. Superintendent Charles Berkley shared that Harvey Jeter was involved in almost every building project at Central High School until recent years.

He designed and built the field goals at CHS with the help of many community volunteers. Jeter also carried the chain for the Chargers for 38 football seasons, and loved displaying his Charger Pride over the years.

Jeter was recently recognized as being a member of the VFW organization for 67 years. He joined the Victoria Fire and Rescue in September of 1955, and during his 61 years, ran 1,225 recorded calls. He was also a member of the West Lunenburg Ruritan Club for 65 years. He took great pride in his community and any project that helped better the town of Victoria. He could even be seen helping his wife Melba with Garden Club beautification projects.

Harvey Jeter was a man of many talents. He built his own home and much of his furniture. Jeter was often creating new convenient ways to do everyday tasks, such as shoveling his sidewalk and heating his home.

He was convinced he had mastered the most efficient way of raking hay. During the ’60s, he was a member of a group of artists that met at night with an instructor from VCU. He experimented with abstract art, loose watercolors and later developed a precise style of realism in watercolor. Everyone who knew him associates him with wood carving. He loved to carve walnut wood with a pocket knife and created numerous treasures for family and friends.

Throughout his life, he enjoyed hunting quail, fly fishing and attending local ball games. Most of all, he enjoyed playing with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends Friday, Sept. 2, from 5-8 p.m. at 1621 Fourteenth St., Victoria. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 3, at 10 a.m. at the family farm, located at 2087 Ontario Road, Keysville, Va., with burial to follow in the Cool Springs Christian Church Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers please consider memorial donations to the Cool Springs Christian Church Cemetery Fund or to Victoria Fire and Rescue.

Clarke and Staples Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.