Bessie Mae Mercer

Bessie Marie Mercer of Seymour, Mo., passed away Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in her home, at the age of 99 years, 4 months, and 8 days. Bessie was born April 1, 1918 in Sweden, Douglas County Mo., the seventh of 10 children of Thomas Black and Minnie Pearl (Fleetwood) Rippee.
Bessie graduated from cosmetology school and cut hair professionally for five years, then for friends and family for many years following. She worked at Beech Aircraft in Wichita, Kan. for over 32 years as a production specialist. She excelled at her job and her expertise was called upon many times during the building of the Beech Bonanza.
Bessie was a baptized believer of the Lord Jesus Christ and a member of Amidon Baptist Church of Wichita, although she attended Southeast Bible Chapel of Springfield and Little Finley Bible Chapel of Seymour in her later years.
Bessie was married to Champ Clark Cole in 1937 and to this union three children were born: Wanda Dean, Lynn Raynes, and George Maburn. Bessie later married King Robert Mercer in 1962. Bessie and Robert owned several motels and drive-ins in the Wichita area.
Bessie sang with a senior citizens group called Saints Alive and performed at many churches. She enjoyed gardening flowers and traveling. Her travels took her to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Switzerland, and many other places.
Bessie was preceded in death by her parents; her two sons, Lynn Raynes and George Maburn Cole; four sisters, Sadie Wattenbarger, Goldie Ann Davis, Louvern Rippee, and Ettia Miller; five brothers, Jim (Bruton) Rippee, Burt Rippee, Columbus Franklin Rippee, Edd Rippee, and Ezra (Bill) Rippee.
Bessie is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Wanda and Howard Wilkins, of Seymour; granddaughters Tanda L. Patterson and husband James “Rick”, of Seymour, Terri C. Elliott, of Melbourne, Fla.; a daughter-in-law, Shirley Ann Cole, of Seymour; three grandsons, Daron W. Wilkins and wife Kimberly, of Seymour, Randall C. Cole and wife Diane, of Wichita, and Jeffrey R. Cole, of Wichita; and granddaughter-in-law Lisa Dieken, of Seymour. Bessie is also survived by 15 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren, as well as extended family and many many friends.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 at the Holman-Howe Funeral Home of Seymour, Mo. Burial followed in Turkey Creek Cemetery, Ava, Mo.