1931 - 2017

Jesse Charles Flores Sr., 85, of Peoria, passed away at 10:30 p.m. Friday, March 17, 2017, at Proctor Hospital in Peoria, surrounded by family.

Born April 30, 1931, in Joliet to Jose Flores and Carmen Rodriguez-Flores. He married Mary Martha Lee May 27, 1950, in Peoria. He was preceded in death by the love of his life.

Surviving are his five sons, Jesse (Janell) Flores Jr., Michael (Beth) Flores, Tony (Karah) Flores, Victor (Lori) Flores and Martin Flores, all of Peoria; two daughters, Linda Flores Waldron of Peoria and Rebecca (Tom) Frakes of East Peoria; 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; one daughter-in-law, Julie Devine of Peoria; one son-in-law, Rick Waldron; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Carmen; father, Jose; wife, Mary Flores; sister, Carmen Flores; four brothers-in-law; a sister-in-law; daughter-in-law, Jennifer Davidson-Flores; and one granddaughter, Renee Flores.

Jesse proudly served in combat with the United States Army in 1952 during the Korean War, later he was part of the 371st Army Band, and was honorably discharged in 1954. He received two Bronze Service Stars, one United Nations Medal, one National Defense Medal, one Korean Service Medal and one Good Conduct Medal.

With the love of his family in mind, he went on to create new businesses in the Peoria/Pekin area. He thoroughly enjoyed music and teaching, which led to the opening of the Pekin Academy of Music in 1957 in Pekin. In the '60s, he sponsored weekend dances in the hall of the Pekin store. Soon after, he changed the name to Flores Music. He opened his second music store location in Peoria Heights.

Jesse formed the Jesse Flores Band, and was the house band at the Jerry Lewis Telethons. They also played at numerous special events throughout central Illinois. He donated generously to numerous charities in Mexico and was very committed to his Catholic faith.

Jesse loved to teach his music students, go on family vacations, weekly family gatherings and Saturday Mass. His students were a large part of his life, and he continued teaching up until his death.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday March 24, at St. Thomas Church.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the church, with an hour prior visitation. Father Anthony Trosley will officiate and burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery.

In his memory, donations may be made online to Santa Maria del Mexicano at www.santamariadelmexicano.org/donate, a Catholic Institution serving the youth and elderly of Mexico with education, founded by Father Anthony Norman, a dear friend of Jesse. Donations can also be sent online in his name to Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation at www.mhopus.org/donate/, a foundation that keeps music alive in our schools by providing durable, high-quality musical instruments to deserving, under-funded music programs nationwide.

To offer condolences online, visit www.wrightandsalmon.com.