Bessie Lorraine Hawkins was born to John and Lola Hawkins on January 18, 1919 in Norborne, Missouri. She lived most of her life on a farm south of Helena with her two brothers and five sisters, as well as her parents. She graduated from Helena High School in 1934, at the age of fifteen, and went to McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas for one year, studying business.
In 1935 Bessie married Basil Veley and to this marriage a daughter was born, Rosetta Rochelle. In 1938 Bessie married Walter (Wally) Kline. They had two children, Leslie Lee and Mary Elizabeth. Bessie put her business training to work, by becoming a co-owner of a drug store in Helena. After selling this business, Bessie worked as a business-woman for many years. She worked for Electrolux, sold Federal crop insurance, worked for the ASCS office in Cherokee and worked alongside Wally in the Cimarron Insurance Agency and Kline Implement business. Wally and Bessie also farmed. After selling Kline Implement, she began working for NODA, where she was a caregiver to the elderly for the Helena community, helping them with their doctor’s appointments, medicines, household chores, grocery shopping. She was a home healthcare worker for the elderly at the very inception of that business.
After Wally’s death, Bessie married Victor Welch in 1984, and they were married until his death in 2007.
Bessie’s life was one lived for the Lord, serving and loving people. She was a hard worker all her life until she became blind in 2010. She continued even in her circumstances of becoming blind, (moving to a new state, and being forced into a dependent situation) to praise the Lord and count her blessings. Bessie was a teacher, although she never had teaching credentials and never taught in a classroom, except a Sunday school classroom. She taught her children to stand on their own, to be responsible, to work hard, to love others and to be lifelong learners, as she was. She also taught her Christianity by example in her everyday life.
Bessie’s life on this earth ended on November 29, 2018. A memorial service celebrating her life will be held on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at the Helena Church of Christ at 2:00 p.m. with visitation on Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. in Helena. www.lanmanmemorials.com Facebook: Lanman Funeral Home Inc.
Preceding her in death are her husbands, Wally Kline (1978) and Vic Welch (2007); her daughter, Rochelle Lunday (2009), grandson, Greg Lunday (1978) and great-grandson, Raysen Frech (2014); her parents, John and Lola Hawkins; her brothers and their wives, Clarence and Ruth Hawkins, Henry and Hazel Hawkins; her sisters and their husbands, Dorothy and Weir Troyer, Goldie and Virgil Shepard, Grace and Kenneth Thralls and J.N. Gibble, Mava and Luther “Bart” Barton, Ruth and Don McCollum.
She is survived by her children, John Lunday (Rochelle’s husband) of Moore, Oklahoma, Les (and wife, Chris) Kline of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Mary (and husband, Ron) Frech of New Braunfels, Texas; daughter-in-law, Louise LaBounty (and husband, Jerry); grandchildren, Doug (and wife, Christina) Geis, Patricia Lunday, Lance Lunday, Lesley Kline, Lynn (and husband Rob) Boyd, Olivia Kline, Angela (and husband, Trey) Nessler, Danielle (and husband, Ruben) Esqueda and Ryan (and wife, Rishanne) Frech and her French granddaughter, Pascale Bourdin; fifteen great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren; many nieces; nephews; cousins and friends.
Memorials may be made to the Living for Raysen Foundation, c/o New Braunfels Area Community Foundation, 801 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels, Texas 78130 or to the charity of your choice.