Jesse Hopkins "Jack" Avent

Heaven received a kind and gentle soul on January 30, 2021, when Jesse Hopkins "Jack" Avent passed away just a month short of his 94th birthday. Jack was born in the Nash County community of Aventon to the late Jesse Lee Avent and Sarah Ellen Matthews Avent. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Annie Lee Freeman, Robert Avent, Jim Avent and Mary Ellen Mobley, and their spouses. Jack and Vernon Dozier were married on January 8, 1950 and lived together in the Aventon community for most of their married life. Except for four years in Nashville, where they were welcomed with wide open arms, they lived in Aventon and devoted their lives to their families, to Fishing Creek Baptist Church, and to the community. Jack was a man of few words, but of many acts of great kindness. He had a fabulous laugh and told many stories and jokes that made others laugh as well. His integrity and work ethic were without equal as he farmed, operated a country store and worked in the fertilizer business with his good friend, the late George Griffin. When Jack wasn't working, he and Vernon could be found at Doak Field at Dail Park, cheering on the NC State Wolfpack baseball team that his son Elliott has coached for 24 years. Baseball was one of Jack's lifelong passions. He was a lifetime fan of the NY Yankees and the Wolfpack. Two highlights of his life were getting to see the Yankees play and to be in Omaha in 2013 with the Wolfpack. In his younger years, he also enjoyed golf, company trips with Vernon, and taking care of their house and yard. Into his mid-80s, he could be found on his riding lawn mower, waving to neighbors as they drove by and blew their horns! His last trip to Doak Field was for a scrimmage of the 2021 team in October 2020. Jack has entered into the peace of life eternal. He will now live on in the hearts of those who cherish their memories of him in the countless ways he loved them. Jack will live on through the treasure of friends and his dear family who loved him: Vernon, his devoted wife of 71 years of Raleigh; his three beloved children, Marsha Avent Van Hecke (Jim) of Raleigh, Susan Avent Rackley (Randy) of Holly Springs, and Elliott Avent (Krista) of Raleigh; and Granddaddy's four grandchildren, who adored him and are dedicated to now doubly loving their Nana: Caitlin Van Hecke (Brad Howell) of Asheville, Lindsey Rackley Button (Gabe) of Fuquay-Varina, Justin Van Hecke (Jody) of Bluffton SC, and Mark Rackley (Mackenzie) of Raleigh; and Jack Jack's precious great-grands who he was delighted to get to meet and hug on: Parker Van Hecke, Quinn Button, Brooks Van Hecke, Maddox Button and Jack Finn Van Howell. Jack is also survived by a loving bunch of nieces, nephews and friends too numerous to count, many of whom also consider themselves "family". A Funeral Service to celebrate Jack's life will be held on Saturday, February 13, at 11:00 AM in the Chapel of Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services. Burial will follow the service at Fishing Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. The family in an extra effort to keep the safety of themselves and others a priority, will also be having a virtual service. It will be live streamed at During the COVID-19 pandemic, the family is requesting the need for social distancing and wearing of masks due to health concerns faced around our nation at this time. Flowers are welcome or memorials may be made in Jack's memory to Fishing Creek Baptist Church, c/o Melanie Lucero, 574 Harrison Rd, Nashville, NC 27856, or to Nashville Baptist Church, 512 E. Washington St., Nashville, NC 27856. Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 1130 N. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting