Bessie Retha McChristian Mitchell, August 19, 1921~September 11, 2017

MitchellBessie Retha McChristian Mitchell passed away peacefully at home of natural causes on Monday, September 11, 2017 at the age of 96.  She was born in Japton in Madison County, Arkansas on August 19, 1921.  She was the second of 4 children born to Thomas Maynard and Pearl Alpha Eubanks McChristian.

Bessie joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) which was the women’s branch of the U.S. Army.  She served in the European Theater in WWII.  Bessie was stationed in England, Germany and France.  While in France, she attended night school to learn to speak French and attended and graduated from Beauty School.  Upon returning home, she attended Fayetteville Business College.  Bessie married Melvin Thomas Mitchell on May 3, 1947 who also served in the European Theater in WWII.  They eventually moved to Japton, where she ran the local store and post office for a time before moving their house up the road where they settled to raise their 5 children.

Bessie worked in the administration office at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Fayetteville for 26 years.  After she retired from the V.A., she went to work at Walmart in Huntsville until retiring at the age of 92.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Melvin Thomas; their daughter, Deborah Susan; her parents; brother; two sisters; and son-in-law, Harold Dwayne Garrett.

Bessie is survived by her children, Nona Delese Garrett, Jehrie McLane and husband, Fred, Thomas Mitchell and wife, Nancy, and Terrance Mitchell and wife, Bobbe.  She has many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren who loved her dearly.

She will be laid to rest at the Fayetteville National Cemetery.  Bessie will be greatly missed by her family and friends and all those who knew her.

Upon her request, there will not be a service.  A visitation will be held at Beard’s Funeral Chapel, 855 S.  Happy Hollow Rd. in Fayetteville from 5-7 P.M. Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Circle of Life Hospice, 901 Jones Rd., Springdale, AR. 72762.

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Condolences (10)

    Gina Rousey » 12. Sep, 2017

    I met Granny when I was 17 years old and for all the years I lived in Japton she always treated me like family. I spent a lot of time at Granny’s house and there was never a time when she wasn’t trying to make me food. Granny’s fried taters were always my favorite and Bronson and I still share that memory. Granny also knew I liked shoes so when she saw shoes at Walmart she knew I would like she would bring me all the colors…. When I left Japton I had 80 pairs of shoes… I tell that story to this day. I sure loved her and even though I left the area when I did see her she always gave me a hug and told me she missed me. I will always keep our great memories dear to my heart. I will see you again one day in Heaven.

    Christine Drake Balentine » 12. Sep, 2017

    So very sorry to hear of Bessie’s passing. She was always one of the sweetest ladies. My prayers are with the family in this time of sorrow!

    Love Always, Christine Drake Balentine and Stephanie Drake Edens

    Joyce Reed » 12. Sep, 2017

    I am so sorry I did not have the honor of knowing this woman. She had an admirable life. Most women of her time did not have her courage or strength. I do know she raised a wonderful family. One of her grandsons will soon be my son in law. Tom Garrett is a good man and I know some of her honor and courage was passed on to him. May God bless her family. Joyce and Rick Reed

    Rita Glenn » 12. Sep, 2017

    Goodby Bessie McChristian Mitchell! To all of Bessie’s family, I offer my sincere condolences. You had a special USA treasure in Bessie as did all of Japton. I was hoping she would get to see her 100th birthday but she couldn’t have picked A more fitting date than 9/11 to leave this earth. Being a war hero herself Bessie was surely greeted by any other heroes on this special day of 9/11. Whatever I talk to her she always mentioned several of her beloved family members. And she knew she was loved too.

    Kendra Stroud » 12. Sep, 2017

    MRS BESSIE YOU ARE GOING TO BE MISSED SO MUCH. YOU HAD THE HEARD OF GOLD . I AM A FRIEND OF Amanda’s Mitchell and that’s her granny .. I also got to work with here for a little while . I would always go talk to her everyday before I left .. Miss u so much so sad but man you have lived a lifetime 96 years old wow .. I hope I can live that long or longer …

    Karen Matthews » 13. Sep, 2017

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I worked with Bessie for many years at the VA. She was a great lady!!

    Cleta Leichner » 13. Sep, 2017

    so sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you.
    She was a great lady. Lots of love ❤️

    Alvin Herrington » 13. Sep, 2017

    Terrence and Thomas and all the family, my condolences to each of you. Your mother was one of a kind. She always made me feel so welcome when I would visit in the home. My prayers for each of you. I know it is a difficult time for each of you. The Lord bless and keep each of you in His loving arms. He will guide and give you strength.

    Kay Samuels » 14. Sep, 2017

    Please accept our sincere condolences on your loss. You are in our hearts.–Elsie & Kay Samuels

    Becky Allison Samstag » 28. Sep, 2017

    My memories of visiting Bessie and Melvin and all of the family are as fond today as they were 50 years ago! Bessie was always kind and giving and loving and knew how to make you feel welcomed! Bessie was my mother’s(Lorene Allison) cousin and they truly enjoyed keeping in touch over the years. They may have been cousins, but they seemed to be more like sisters! To all of Bessie’s family – I am so sorry that she has passed away in this physical life, but know she will be in your hearts and memories forever!