By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Obituary - Dr. Jesse Lewis Petrea Jr.
Deal Funeral Directors
Dr. Jesse Lewis Petrea Jr.

Hagan, Ga. — 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, Tenn., 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 was Monday, May 25, from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Bay Branch Primitive Baptist Church.

The graveside funeral service for Dr. Petrea was held Monday at 11 a.m. 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, P.O. Box 867, Claxton, GA 30417.

Deal Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements.


Statesboro Herald, May 26, 2020

Sign the Legacy online guestbook at

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter