In Memory of




Obituary for Harry Jefferson Jr.

Harry Jefferson, Jr. died peacefully in his home on October 27, 2023, surrounded by his family members. Harry was born as the fourth of five children to Bertha and Harry Jefferson, Sr. in White Plains, NY on September 9, 1934.

A White Plains native, Harry graduated in 1953 from White Plains High school where he was an athletic standout and the captain of the varsity and football track teams. Also, he was elected to All-County, All-Conference, All Metropolitan, and All National High School All-American Football Team. He was a New York State 180-yard low hurdles champion and a member of the New York State Champion 880-yard track team. He was also selected as a member of the All-County and All Metropolitan Track Team.

He received a full football scholarship at the University of Illinois and was selected to the All-Big-Ten Team and All-American in 1955. In 1955 Mr. Jefferson was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corp and became a close friend of Bill Cosby. Lt. Jefferson was named most valuable player and selected to the All-American Armed Forces Team. After his military service, he joined the New York Giants Professional Football Team, but sustained a serious leg injury which terminated his career as a professional football player.

Harry met the love of his life, Gerthalene Hines, at the University of Illinois and they got married on February 2, 1958, in Decatur, Illinois. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1958, Harry returned to White Plains as a teacher and coach in 1959. Later he earned his Masters’ Degree from Columbia University.

At White Plains High School, Harry coached the varsity basketball, football, and track teams for thirteen years. During that time, his extraordinary coaching skills led to two Section I Championships and resulted in many of his players receiving basketball scholarships. In 1966, Harry’s peers selected him as Coach of the Year, and in 1984, Harry was inducted into the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1972, Harry was appointed to his first administrative position. Harry retired as the Assistant Principal of the White Plains High School in 1996. He created an extraordinary legacy of guidance as Harry served as a friend, mentor, spiritual, moral guide, and substitute father to thousands of students during his 37-year career as an educator.

Harry earned many awards and honors including: A White Plains Slater Center Honoree, the Martin Luther King Educational Leadership Award, the Westchester County Distinguished Service Award, and a White Plains High School Hall of Fame inductee. In 1993 The White Plains Board of Education established the annual Harry Jefferson Classic Basketball Tournament, in February 2000 he won a Fritz Pollard Award for high achievement in sports, and in recent years White Plains High School renamed their gymnasium in his honor.

He dedicated his life to serving the community. He joined Omega Psi Phi Fraternity – a public service organization - in 1956 when he was initiated through the Pi Psi Chapter at the University of Illinois. In 1978 he was one of the charter members of the Beta Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi in White Plains. Additionally, he volunteered with the White Plains Youth Board and the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

Much of Harry’s success in life can be attributed to the richness of his spiritual and family life. He was a longstanding and active member of the Mt. Hope A.M.E Zion Church. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and uncle. Harry and Gerthalene are the parents of two wonderful children, Clifford (Hiromi) and Elaine, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Harry is also survived by his sister, Gloria, and a host of nieces and nephews.


ATTENTION: As we continue to phase back into smaller capacity public visitations/services amid the continuing COVID & various health concerns, we need your help in limiting/controlling the number of people, so please govern yourself accordingly for the health & safety of all. Thank you so kindly!

A Walk-thru Wake/Visitation/Viewing will be held on Sat., Nov. 11th, 9:00-10:00AM & then resuming 10:45-11:45AM at Mt. Hope AME Zion Church with limited capacity ***{And PLEASE NOTE that 10:00-10:45AM will be an OMEGA SERVICE by his Fraternity that if you're already seated you may stay, but during which time there will be NO ENTRY to Sanctuary & NO Viewing & NO Talking}***, immediately followed by Funeral Service at 12:00NOON, also at the church (burial will be on Sunday, see further below for details). So you may come to the Church to try to attend, & feel free to wear masks. But the church will be live-streaming the Funeral Service on their Facebook Page Live & on ZOOM, also available on our website the day of the service where it says WATCH WEBCAST, so you're able to view on their Facebook page, our Facebook page, on ZOOM/here also/instead (& after on the church's Youtube page even after services are over also). At the very least you can get hand sanitizer & sign the register book (NOTE: please feel free to bring your own pen). If not at capacity, you will be allowed in to possibly have a seat; but it truly is a WALK-THRU Viewing with LIMITED/Minimal Talking to the family so as to keep the line of people moving, allowing the most possible to pay their respects. But if at capacity by the time you get there, you may be required to leave the premises after signing register book, so as not to be in violation nor cause a health hazard, so please govern yourself accordingly. Regardless of if you're able to enter/be seated, or not, please refrain from touching/hugging/handshaking, preferably elbow bumping briefly. If instructed, PLEASE KINDLY RESPECTFULLY leave the building & premises if the church is at their capacity. PLEASE KINDLY RESPECTFULLY follow & abide by the directions of the funeral home staff and/or church personnel at all times. We Thank You in advance for following directions & policies, so as to make all go smoothly the day of the services, to eliminate further burden on the family, and to maintain the health & safety of All. Any questions, or if any clarity is needed, please call ahead to the funeral home and/or church, and/or speak to us from a safe distance if present.


The Entire Staff of Lee's Funeral Home, LLC respects that the family of Harry Jefferson, Jr. entrusted the care of their loved one to us, and that they value the level of service & attention our funeral home provides. We are honored, in turn, to provide comfort, assistance and service to the Jefferson Family during their time of bereavement.


Please leave written condolences now herein on the Memory Wall to express your sorrow, share your memories, and as an expression of sympathy & way to communicate with/offer comfort to the family, that they and others may see, and may be a lasting tribute in his honor, whether you're able to attend or not. Definitely please SIGN IN on the Memory Wall as a virtual way of signing the register book, especially if choosing to stay safe/not able to sign in person.


Feel free to come to the church wearing a mask, & wear a mask inside the church, and social distance as much as possible. If you know you have a coronavirus/COVID-19; are sick/experiencing symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-19; are immuno-compromised and/or have health/other conditions that make your body more susceptible to illness, please do NOT attend any services nor come to either facility. Please feel free to bring & use your own pen for signing the family's register book - you are encouraged to please BRING & use your own PEN for signing. Please follow & abide by the rules of the church, and directions of the funeral home staff and/or church personnel at all times. We Thank You in advance for following directions & any policies, so as to make all go smoothly the day of the services, to eliminate further burden on the family, and to maintain the health & safety of All. Any questions, or if any clarity is needed, please call ahead to the church and/or funeral home, and/or speak to us from a safe distance if present.


In LIEU of flowers, the family kindly requests instead that a contribution be made in his name/memory/honor to the American Red Cross (may be done on your own or simply through the donation tab/link here in website at the bottom of this page), or if calling in a donation, you may do so to #1-914-946-6500. You may also choose to plant a tree as a lasting tribute, and/or a contribution may be made in his name/memory/honor as previously indicated above. If flowers are sent despite the family request, sending plants or vases the family may possibly keep is preferable & may be delivered on either Fri. Nov. 10th, 2023 by/before 6:00PM to Lee's Funeral Home; or Sat., Nov. 11th by/before 9:30AM to Mt. Hope AME Zion Church. The Family Thanks You!