Bessie M. Purcell, 95, a longtime resident of Monroe County, died March 18, 2015 in Waterloo.
Bess was born on Nov. 15, 1919, to Eugene and Rosalie Nutt, nee Baca, in Beeville, Texas, and grew up in a farming family.
She attended Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Mo. and later worked as a secretary at Kelly Air Base in San Antonio, Texas, where she met her husband Frank M. Purcell, of Coulee City, Wash. Bess and Frank were married for 61 years and had five children.
Bess was a loving wife and mother, who always put her family’s needs above her own, and she greatly enjoyed the company of family and friends. She will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her. Over the years, her love for the Lord and compassion for others expressed itself in many ways, including faithful involvement in church all her life, support for various pro-life activities, and regular visitation at various nursing homes to encourage residents.
Her lifelong faith in God continued to be evident even after Alzheimer’s became severe enough to prevent conversation: she was still able to pray beautiful prayers and read aloud from the Bible. Until the past few weeks, she was cared for by daughter Lori, and son-in-law, Rev. Will Hesterberg, who took her into their home almost five years ago.
She is survived by her children, Judy (Steve) Davis of Warrenton, Va.; Lori (Will) Hesterberg of Waterloo; Mark (Gail) Purcell of Lynnwood, Wash.; Arleen (Joe) Hof of Warrenton, Va.; Karla (Mark) Cornick of Burlington, Iowa; 14 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; a sister, Joyce Pickett; a sister-in-law, Barbara Purcell; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Frank; her parents; and two brothers and three sisters.
Visitation will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. March 22 at Quernheim Funeral Home in Waterloo and at 10 to 11 a.m. March 23 at Concord Presbyterian Church PCA in Waterloo.
A funeral service will take place at 11 a.m. March 23, 2015 at Concord Presbyterian Church.
Interment will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.
Memorials may be made to Oak Hill Endowment Fund, Life Network of Southern Illinois, or Concord Presbyterian Church PCA Memorial Fund.