Jeanie Cessna


Norma Jean “Jeanie” Cessna, 82, went to her heavenly home on Dec. 22, 2021.

Jeanie was born to the late James Arthur and Elsie Marie Little in Waterside, Pa., on July 25, 1939. Her parents exemplified Christ, so Jeanie became a Christian at the young age of 11. She was baptized on March 25, 1951 at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren in New Enterprise, Pa.

Jeanie had an interest in music and enjoyed being a majorette in the marching band in high school. She graduated from J.L. Replogle High School in 1957. She then graduated beauty school in 1958. She went on to work as a hairdresser for many years after graduation.

Along with hairdressing, Jeanie enjoyed being in the church choir. Jeanie sang in the three different churches she attended throughout her life. She cared about spreading the good news of Jesus and was a member of the N.C. Women’s Auxiliary of The Gideon’s International.

In the same church where she became a Christian and was baptized, she married her high school sweetheart, Gary Blaine Cessna, on July 6, 1958. They were married almost 60 years. Jeanie and Gary lived in Yellow Creek, Pa., until they moved to Bradenton, Fla., in 1960 where they raised their three daughters. As a family, they enjoyed traveling, riding their motorcycles, boating, water skiing and being involved in the church.

After retirement, Jeanie and Gary moved to Myakka, Fla. In 1998, they moved to Sylva, N.C. They found a church home at East Sylva Baptist Church, where she was most recently a member. The mountains of Western North Carolina brought them great joy.

Jeanie’s family also brought her delight. She was blessed with a large and loving family. Jeanie was fondly referred to as Gram and Bama Jeanie by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Visits from family always prompted a traditional ham and noodles dinner with a fresh baked pan of brownies making lasting memories for everyone.

Jeanie was preceded in death by her husband, Gary; and her sister, Gloria Ann North.

She is survived by her daughters, Radawn Elmore (Tim), Sheila Crawford (Jimmy) and Jodi Gaestel (Bill); her eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; and her brother, Gaylord W. Little (Tonia).

A private celebration of Jeanie’s life will be held at a later date.

Donations made be made to The Gideon’s International at or the East Sylva Baptist Church at