Dr. Jesse Lewis Petrea, Jr., age 75, died Friday May 22, 2020 due to a tragic automobile accident. Lewis was a Savannah native, the first of nine children born to Savannah bricklayer, J. L. Petrea, Sr and Thelma Royal Petrea. Born into poverty, due to the greatest of work ethics and a devotion to education, he attained the pinnacle of success. He graduated from Savannah High School in 1963. He subsequently graduated from Armstrong State College and then Florida International University in 1977. He was employed as a pharmaceutical representative for US Vitamin where he was top salesman for 16 consecutive years. He later attended the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in the British West Indies, then completed clinical studies in Eastborne England. He received his MD in 1987. He did internships in both internal medicine and psychiatry at the Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City, TN and completed his residency in psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA.
Dr. Petrea engaged in the private practice of General Psychiatry in Eastman, GA caring for children, adolescents, adults, and elderly patients. He worked with the Eastman Youth Detention Center through the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Federal Correctional Institute in Jesup, GA and with many nursing homes in middle Georgia serving as Medical Director caring for geriatric patients. Dr. Petrea was Chief of the Department of Psychiatry at the Dodge County Hospital from 1995-2003 and served as Chief of Staff of the hospital. More recently, he worked with Pineland Mental Health and the Southern Counseling Center of Baxley, GA. Dr. Petrea was certified by the American Board of Psychiatry. He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, and the American Medical Directors Association.
Surviving are his wife Barbara D. Petrea of Hagan, two sons, Jesse (Brianna) Petrea III of Savannah and Brett (Stacy) Petrea of Bloomingdale, one daughter Lindsey Johnson of Hagan, six grandchildren Brittany (Jeff) Bezore, Camden Petrea, Whitley Petrea, Courtney Petrea, Jaydon McDaniel, and Daylin Walden, four great grandchildren, six brothers Jimmy Petrea, Sonny Petrea, Todd Petrea, Ricky Petrea, Tony Petrea, and Woody Petrea (deceased), two sisters Shirley Varney and Holly Petrea, Jaki Petrea (mother of Jesse and Brett Petrea) sister in law Betty (Bird) Hodges, and brother in law H. Hinton DeLoach (Michelle).
Dr. Petrea’s greatest legacy is his love and compassion for people. He was a giver who was always there for his family, his friends, and his community. He loved his farm in Hagan, GA and was happiest while mowing or chainsawing.
Visitation for family and friends will be held Monday May 25th from 10:00 am until 11:00 am at the Bay Branch Primitive Baptist Church
Graveside funeral services for Dr. Petrea will be held Monday at 11:00 am at Bay Branch Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Methodist Church of Claxton, 401 West Main St., Claxton GA, 30417 or Bay Branch Church Cemetery Fund, PO Box 867, Claxton GA 30417.