Jesse Longway, age 43, of Chicago, Illinois, left our world tragically and unexpectedly on March 19, 2021, leaving us without the chance to remind him how dearly loved and cherished he was. Jesse was the adored son of Regina Libby, the beloved partner of Vanessa Kaplan, the dear brother of Darrin Burnette, the lovi…read more
Jesse Longway, age 43, of Chicago, Illinois, left our world tragically and unexpectedly on March 19, 2021, leaving us without the chance to remind him how dearly loved and cherished he was. Jesse was the adored son of Regina Libby, the beloved partner of Vanessa Kaplan, the dear brother of Darrin Burnette, the loving papa of Kitten and the biological father of Gracey Mounsey whom he selflessly gave up for adoption in order for her to have the best possible life. In addition, Jesse is also survived by his aunts and uncles, Anne, Ralph and Randy Roark, Jenni and Jim Noyes, his cousins Jeanne Roark Tillinghast, Chuck Roark, Eric Noyes, Amy Poore and Beth Waugh, and countless friends around the country.
While Jesse lived in Colorado and Connecticut for a time, he returned to Illinois about three years ago, realizing his lifelong dream to live in Chicago, just steps away from the lake and nearby Wrigley Field.
Jesse was an avid cyclist, having learned how to ride a two-wheeler at the age of 3 before starting to compete in BMX racing at age 4. One of his favorite activities was cruising along the lakefront on his SE bike, music blasting with Vanessa by his side. Thankfully that’s exactly how he spent his last day.
Much to his mother’s chagrin and despite breaking practically every bone in his body, Jesse was a fearless cyclist who still enjoyed bunny hopping down stairs and pulling wheelies. Jesse may be the only person ever known who’s received a traffic ticket for reckless cycling.
Always a staunch advocate for the underdog, Jesse was an unwavering fan of the Chicago Cubs and reveled in their World Series win in 2016. Jesse’s loyalty extended well beyond Wrigley Field though. He was a fierce friend and protector of those he cared about, and never took his friendships for granted. Jesse made the time to nurture and sustain his friendships, keeping in touch with folks long after he moved to another state or to another employer. Jesse also had the innate ability to walk into a room and find a way to connect to each and every person on a personal level. His intellect was far reaching and there was perhaps no topic he couldn’t converse about.
Jesse could often be found blasting music from one of his favorite bands while cruising on his bike. In particular, Jesse was a big fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine. Jesse also enjoyed going to countless Journey concerts with his mother and knew the words to every one of their songs. Jesse was also a movie buff that could recite entire scenes from his favorite movies. While there were many, perhaps no movie more so than “Rad BMX.”
Jesse had expensive tastes that perhaps originated with his mother’s tendency to spoil him and fulfill his wishes no matter how far-fetched or costly. Jesse always liked to be “in fashion” and although his style changed over the years, he always stayed true to Vans. In fact, he’ll be cremated in one of his favorite Vans t-shirts along with other favorite pieces of clothing, a Clutch hat and a new pair of sneakers he recently had his eye on. Jesse also loved steak, particularly rib-eyes, steamed maine lobster and lobster bisque. Please think of him the next time you see those items on the menu.
Jesse was fortunate to have had jobs and later a career for which he could be passionate about. His first job was as a newspaper delivery boy, later becoming certified to be a lifeguard, and working at a bike shop where he honed his skills as a bike mechanic. After graduating high school, Jesse became involved in the automotive service industry, specializing in tires. Most recently, Jesse served as a tire manager at Firestone on North Avenue in Chicago, but had also worked at numerous other car dealerships and tire shops in Connecticut, Colorado and Illinois throughout his career.
Jesse was a force of nature and no obituary can ever capture his true essence. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Jesse’s memory to either of these charities, https://workingbikes.org/ or https://www.freewheelinbikes.org/. Jesse was on the cusp of turning his love of cycling into a way to help disadvantaged youth, and would be so thankful for your help in making that dream become part of his legacy.
Visitation for Jesse will occur on Friday, March 26th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 185 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL. His interment will be private. For more information, please contact Smith Corcoran Funeral Home at (847)359-8020.