Updated: 1:12 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 | Posted: 1:02 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, 2012
By Michelle E. Shaw
Business and civic experience
Chairman, All Citizens Registration Committee, 1959-70; president and CEO, Atlanta Life Insurance Co., 1973-95.
Member, Georgia Board of Regents, 1973-84; chairman, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, 1978-79.
Member, King Center, 1974-95, including board chairman, 1979-95; chairman, Atlanta Campaign Committee (to build King Center), 1974.
Board seats: National Services Industries, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Rich’s Department Store, Trust Company of Georgia (SunTrust Banks), Delta Air Lines, Knight-Ridder, S&H, Morse Shoe.
A look back
1926: Born May 30 in St. Louis to Nancy Dennis Martin and Jesse Sr.
1947: Receives Bachelor of Science in math and physics, Lincoln University, St. Louis.
1949: Receives Master of Business Administration with a concentration in actuarial science, University of Michigan.
1949: Moves to Atlanta after being hired as an assistant actuary with Atlanta Life, later becoming vice president and chief actuary.
1954: Returns home from two-year stint in military in South Korea during Korean War.
1955: Marries Azira Gonzalez, a registered nurse and graduate of the Grady School of Nursing, in Holguin, Cuba. They later have two daughters.
1960: Along with several others, launches the Atlanta Inquirer after concluding that the Daily World is not supportive of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
1969: Elected president of the National Insurance Association.
1973: Named Atlanta Life’s third president and chief executive (first nonmember of founder’s family to head the company).
1993: Resigns as CEO but remains as chairman.
1995: Retires as chairman.
1996: Sues Atlanta Life Insurance Co., accusing the company of reneging on an agreement to pay him $250,000 in supplemental retirement compensation. The company counterclaims that Hill opened a bank account without the company’s knowledge and with company funds designated for charity.
1997: A federal judge rules that Atlanta Life is under no obligation to pay the supplement, but rejects Atlanta Life’s counterclaim.
2001: Butler Street, from John Wesley Dobbs to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, is renamed Jesse Hill Jr. Drive.
2003: Co-chairs a 17-member Atlanta Advisory Commission to honor former Mayors Maynard Jackson and Ivan Allen Jr.
2006: Awarded Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service. He is the first African-American to receive the prize.
2007: Receives 2007 Shining Light Award from Atlanta Gas Light and News/Talk 750 WSB.
2008: Honored during “Salute to Greatness” Awards Dinner for his excellence and commitment to social responsibility in the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Sources: AJC news stories, Gale Biography. Compiled by News Researcher Joni Zeccola
Former staff writer Ernest Holsendolph contributed to this article.