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Bessie Garris (02-06-2014)
Photo of Bessie Garris Bessie Garris passed away on January 31, 2014 at Evergreen Nursing Home in Alamosa, Colorado. She was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Ouida Patten, her husband, Olby Garris, one brother, Arley Patten and one sister, Melba Dean. She is survived by her daughter, Linda Christian (Paul), one grandson, Eric Christian (Michelle), sister-in-laws, Betty Garris, Mona Garris, Ruby Rogers, and Rosa Aulds, numerous nieces and nephews, and friends and adopted family, both in Louisiana and Colorado.
She was born on January 11, 1923 in Rocky Branch, Louisiana to Joseph and Ouida Patten. She married Olby Garris on April 22, 1944 and they had one daughter, Linda. Bessie worked as a teacher’s aide for Union Parish Schools. She enjoyed her church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, her friends and her family. She liked to sew, crochet, cook, fish and kept up with friends’ and family members’ birthdays and other celebrations by sending cards.
Bessie lived 79 of her 91 years in Union Parish. In January 2001 she moved to Colorado to live with Linda and Paul so they could care for her. She lived in their home until March of 2013 when she moved to Evergreen Nursing Home where she was cared for and loved by the wonderful staff there. Right after her 91st birthday she became ill with pneumonia and despite a valiant fight was unable to beat it completely. She decided that she was ready to move to her final home in heaven. She said her goodbyes and she moved to her mansion on a street paved with gold with Olby on Friday night, January 31, 2014.
Before moving to Evergreen Nursing Home she spent her days in Colorado doing things that she enjoyed and made her feel useful. She read her bible and devotionals. If the dishwasher needed unloading she took time to do that before her morning nap! She also asked for “chores”. She cut up cooked chicken, grapes and apples for chicken salad or vegetables for dinner. She was in charge of bagging the shredder paper. Most days either she called friends and family or they called her. She loved her visits from her Stephens Minister and attending Circle Meetings at First United Methodist Church. She was a Faithful Folder, helping to fold and send the monthly church newsletter. On Sundays she attended First United Methodist Church even on mornings when it was 17 degrees below zero. On Wednesdays she and her friend Beulah went to the Senior Center for lunch. The rest of the week the meals were delivered to her. She read the local newspaper and the papers from her hometown from cover to cover and even liked reading the local high school newspaper when it came out. She and the granddog, Gracie, watched the news together before she had dinner with Linda and Paul in the evenings. She managed to stay busy and generally upbeat and happy.
While moving to Evergreen was not an easy transition, she did it on her terms. She made friends and made the best of it. The staff loved her and cared for her. Her roommate turned out to be a real friend and blessing. While they only had a few months together, they became friends. When Bessie could not see her call button she could ask her friend to call for her and she would. They learned to look out for each other. There were many tears in those last few days shed by residents and staff as they said their goodbyes. Bessie assured them she was at peace with her decision and they should be, too.
Bessie chose cremation and there will be a memorial service at her home church in Louisiana and her adopted church in Colorado. The service at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Rocky Branch, Louisiana will be at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, February 8th, 2014. The service at First United Methodist Church in Alamosa, Colorado will be announced at a later time. Donations can be made to the Gideon’s or She was a three time cornea recipient and grateful for the extended sight that she had because of that gift. She was a little perturbed that due to her age and health she could not be a viable organ donor so we think she would like donations to be sent there. To leave online condolences for the family or to sign an online guest book, go to