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Pike Press
Pike Press
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Description: Obituary of Bess, Zelma E.

Date: March 18 2009

Newspaper published in: Pittsfield

Page/Column: A6 / 1

Zelma E. Bess, age 79, of Pittsfield, Il. and formerly of Milton, Il. died early Thursday (March 12, 2009) at Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Il. following a lengthy illness with her daughter never leaving her side and her sons always being in very close contact. Her sister, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews She was born August 8, 1929 in Pearl, Il. daughter of the late Paul L Bissell, Sr. and Helen M. Cox Bissell. She married Junior V. Bess on August 21, 1947 at Green Pond Christian Church near Pearl, Il. and he preceded her in death in 1971. Surviving is a daughter, Paula (Kathy) Castlebury and husband Don, Sr. of Winchester, Il.; two sons, Gale Bess and wife Sandy of Indiana and Brad Bess of Pleasant Hill, Il.; fifteen grandchildren, Donetta, Diana, Deana, Don Jr. and wife Annette, Delissa and husband Shane Jones, Tiffany and Jasmine Castleberry; Crystal, David and wife Trish, Ashley, Gale Jr., and Brittney Bess; Emily and Erica Bess; and her special grandson Donald Paul Castleberry; eight great-grandchildren, Jonathon Hack; Madelyn, Samantha, Katelyn and Issac Bess; Faith and Zeke Castleberry and Heaven Castleberry; one sister, Glenna Donohoo and husband Richard of East Alton, Il.; one brother-in-law, Keith Bess and wife Nina of Kampsville, Il.; two nieces, Brenda Corbetto and Eva James; a great-great nephew, Trace Lopez; as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins, and tow special friends, Karen Allen and Annette Freeman. Zelma was preceded in death by her parents; a great-granddaughter, Katelyn Jones; two sisters, Erma Rucker and Donna Stanley; a brother, Paul L. Bissell, Jr.; a nephew, Don Donohoo; a niece Cheryl Donohoo; and one sister-in-law, Leota Bess Baker. Zelma and her sister Donna Stanley owned and operated restaurants in the Milton and Detroit area. They also worked together at Capitol Records. While at Capitol Records, she loved playing softball for the company team and she never missed a Cardinal game. Zelma worked at Yelliotts Market in Milton and remained friends with Roger until her death. Zelma retired from Illini Community Hospital in 1987, where she became very closely connected with Virginia Ator, Relna Grammer, Vicki Edwards and developed a life long special friendship with Sharon Sneeden, who also took care of her during her illness. Zelma was a member of the Illini Breakfast Club, Montezuma Club, and a member of the Green Pond Christian Church. Zelma devoted her life to her children making sure Kathy and Brad had only the best after the death of their father. Gale during that time, already married, also made her very proud. She was also proud of all her grandchildren. Zelma continued to be very proud of each of them holding a special place for each of them in her heart. Although she spent a lot of time with the pride and joy of her heart, her first granddaughter Crystal, she kept special room in her heart for Emily and Erica. Her love will be with her son-in-law, Huck. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday (March 16, 2009) at the Airsman-Hires Funeral Home in Pittsfield, Il. Burial will be in Green Pond Cemetery near Pearl, Il. Friends may call after 4 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home where family will meet with friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Memorials may be made to Multiple Sclerosis Society of Illinois c/o Airsman-Hires Funeral Home Box 513 Pittsfield, Il. 62363. Condolences may be sent to the family online at

Submitted: 03/19/09

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