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Bessie Hendricks

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Bessie Hendricks, age 115 of Lake City, IA, passed away on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, at Shady Oaks Care Center in Lake City.  Many years ago on November 7, 1907, in a farm home a few miles southeast of Auburn, IA, Bessie Laurena was born to parents Hugh and Mattie (Clark) Sharkey.  When Bessie was a baby, her family bought a farm near Lake City, IA, where she grew up and attended country school.  When she was to be in 7th grade the country school was closed due to a lack of students, so Bessie started 7th grade at Central School in Lake City.  She was in the first 9th-grade class at West View High School and graduated in May 1926.               

In high school, Bessie took a training course, which allowed her to teach in a country school.  She taught for four years, beginning in the fall of 1926.   During her second year of teaching in 1927, she bought her first car, an Essex.  Just before her last year of teaching, Bessie went out dancing in Lohrville, IA, and was introduced to a man named Paul.  The next day, Paul called and asked her out and she had to go pick him up since she had a car.  They dated for about a month when Paul asked her to marry him.  They had to wait until Bessie was done teaching to get married because back then, married women could not teach in country schools.  They were united in marriage on June 27, 1930, at Woodlawn Church of Christ. After their wedding, they drove Bessie’s car to Des Moines, IA, and stayed at the Franklin Hotel.

They lived in Rands, IA, for almost three years.  Paul taught Bessie how to fill out the papers and seal the grain cars at the depot.  During their first two years of marriage, they had two daughters: Shirley Ann and Joan Lois.  On March 3, 1933, Bessie and her family moved to a farm east of town where they lived for the next 47 years.  Bessie and Paul’s last three children were born there: Roland Paul, Glenda Betty, and Leon Ray.  During their time on the farm, Bessie had a big garden and canned as much as 800 quarts of vegetables and fruit in one year.  One summer, they bought peaches and pears to can and raised chickens, as many as 500 a year.  Bessie also dressed and sold roosters.  This helped them buy groceries and clothing for her family. 

In addition to her farm life, Bessie enjoyed making small favors out of plastic and gifting them to people.  In the 1950s, she was the music mother at Lake City High School, and a longtime member of the Woodlawn Christian Church in Lake City, where she was very active in the women’s group.

On December 2, 1979, Bessie and Paul had their farm sale.  They stayed on the farm until July 1980 and purchased a house in Lake City.  On May 25, 1995, Paul passed away.  They celebrated 65 years of marriage together. 

Bessie lived in her home in Lake City until she was 102 years old. She spent her last years at Shady Oaks Care Center where she lived a comfortable life and enjoyed visits from her family and friends as well as hundreds of birthday cards each year from people all around the world. Bessie was known for her work ethic and love of family. She enjoyed crocheting and was a lifelong Iowa Hawkeyes fan. She was an inspiration to many and will be dearly missed by those who knew and loved her. Her family takes peace in knowing that she is smiling down from above while enjoying a treat and humming along to one of her favorite songs.

Those left to cherish her memory include her children: Joan Schaffer of Lake City, IA, Glenda Hendricks of Lake City, IA, and Leon (Judy) Hendricks of Lake City, IA; grandchildren: Dawn, Jay, Jeff, Jill, Dave, Julie, Sheree, Scott, Brian, Kent, Randy, Ed, Sue, and Lory; 26 great-grandchildren; and many great-great-grandchildren.

Bessie was preceded in death by the love of her life, Paul Hendricks; daughter Shirley and son RoLand; daughter-in-law Kathy Hendricks; son-in-law Roy Schaffer; granddaughter Debbie; great-grandsons Nick and Christopher; and five siblings. 

Funeral Service was 2:30 p.m. Saturday January 7, 2023 at the Woodlawn Christian Church in Lake City, Iowa. Burial took place in the Lake City Cemetery Lake City, Iowa. Lampe and Powers funeral home of Lake City, Iowa is handling arrangements.

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