Bessie Willis Obituary (1920 – 2023) – Legacy Remembers

Bessie “Dimples” Willis, 102, of Hartford, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 20, 2023, with her family by her side.
Bessie was born in Savannah, GA, the daughter of the late Willis Williams and Ruth Hamlin, and graduated from Atlantic City High School and the Moody Secretarial School in Atlantic City, NJ. Bessie was employed as an Administrator for the Department of Motor Vehicles, retiring after over 32 years of service. She moved to New Britain in 1947 and over the years, she resided in Hartford, Manchester, and for over 20 years in Massachusetts before coming back to Connecticut. Bessie was a God-fearing woman and an ardent church member of Faith Congregational Church in Hartford and was a member of their Chancel Choir and the Mission Society (a pantry for feeding the needy). While living in Massachusetts, she was an active member and past Trustee of Union Church in Ludlow, MA. Bessie was also a member of the NAACP and the Sigma Phi Lambda Sorority.
When Anna Warmsley Temple #1073 was organized in 1956, Daughter Willis was initiated as a Charter Member and served four terms as Daughter Ruler, and held the title of Financial Secretary, Vice Daughter Ruler, and Chaplain. She organized the first Juvenile and Junior Temple as well as the Purple Cross Nurses Unit in her Temple and was capped in Washington, DC in 1958 as a Purple Cross Nurse. Daughter Willis was a Loyal Daughter Ruler in The Lincoln Council where she gained her Past Loyal Daughter Ruler accreditation. In the New England States and Eastern Canada Auxiliary, she served from the gate to the Stations of the First Vice President and received her Past State President Honors through the Courtesy Department. She also served as the Assistant to the Financial Secretary for over 10 years. Daughter Willis was a former member of the Anna Warmsley’s Marching Unit serving as Company Clerk and was the Directress of the Queen’s Contestants. In the State Auxiliary, she attained the highest honor in Elkdom, that of Past Grand Daughter Ruler in Atlanta, GA, through the National Shrine Department in August of 1978, under the sponsorship of Chief of Protocol, the Late Brother Julius Tilley. Daughter Willis was the Past President of The Jackson/Tilley Shrine Club of New Britain and Hartford. She was also one of the organizers of the Shrine Club and the Grand Assistant Directress of the Shrine Department of Region 1, which consists of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Daughter Willis was also President of the Past State President’s Club of Connecticut, serving as the Treasurer of the Mae H. Jackson Club of Connecticut, New England States, and Canada.
Bessie was a loving daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and dear friend. She will fondly be remembered as a loving and giving woman who loved her family more than anything. Bessie was the neighborhood “Auntie,” and nothing made her happier than when she was taking care of her friends and extended family in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. Because of her loving and giving nature, Bessie was a beloved licensed Foster Mother for many years in the State of Connecticut and made a positive and impactful difference in the lives of many children. She was very direct and always spoke her mind, but in a respectful manner, and was always very proper in any situation. She was soft spoken, but always got her point across and commanded respect. Bessie leaves a legacy of beautiful memories that will live in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.
Bessie was an amazing gourmet cook, loved to entertain her family and friends, and was always the life of the party! She had class and style in abundance and loved to have the best of everything. Bessie always dressed “to the nines” and everything always matched with the proper accessories. Bessie loved to travel, especially Hawaii and to the annual Elks meetings. She loved crafting, flower arranging, babysitting, crossword puzzles, and watching game shows and Steve Harvey. One of her favorite things was hot sauce. and the hotter the better! Bessie also enjoyed a good glass of wine, and was known to make her own Dandelion Wine, but also loved her tea with lemon.
In her own words, she wanted to convey to each person as food for thought:
“Love and Let Live”
Bessie leaves to celebrate her life, her sister, who was also her caretaker and loved her dearly, Sheila N. Hall of Hartford; her nephew, Robert L. Hall, Sr.; her great-nephews, Robert L. Hall, Jr. and Ronnell D. Hall; her great-niece, G’Nique S. Brown; cousins, Lessie Grant, Ernestine “Ernie” White, and Mary “Mae” Goodman; goddaughters, Monica Marchando and Zusuki Ruth Zayas; her godson, Arthur “AJ” Wiggs; and great friends, Martha Allen, Charlie Mae Williams, Domingo Costa, and Rosemary Wiggs, Stephanie Harvey, Luz Helen Sorocka, and Bessie Surrett; as well as many other relatives and friends.
In addition to her mother, she was predeceased by her niece, Shenique Kimberly Hall; her favorite cousin, James Goodman; her goddaughter, Beryl Jordan; and dear friend, Annie Holmes.
Her family will receive friends on Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., with an Elks Service at 11:30 a.m., at Carmon Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave., Windsor. A Funeral Service will follow at 12 p.m.
Burial will be private.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bessie, please visit our floral store.

Published by Carmon Windsor Funeral Home on May 26, 2023.

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