Bessie Retha Mitchell
Published: September 13, 2017
Bessie 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 five 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, Ark. 72762. Condolences at www.beardsfuneralchapel.com.
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