Bessie Beatrice Beckwith departed this earthly life on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at the age of 90. Bessie was born to the late George Blue and Rose Benjamin in Raeford, North Carolina, on November 5, 1932. After spending her younger formative years with her grandparents, Moses and Emma Benjamin, in North Carolina, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland, with her uncle, the late Edward (Pearl) Benjamin. She graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School of Baltimore Public Schools in 1950 and relocated to Newburgh, New York, where she met and married the late Early B. Beckwith.
Bessie and Early were blessed with a large and loving family of eight children. Bessie raised her eight children after the passing of her beloved Early with patience, love, and kindness. While raising her children, she worked for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District in their early childhood education program. She also worked throughout her 30-year tenure with the school district as an administrator in their office. During her tenure with the early childhood education program at Newburgh, she was selected to participate in an early childhood educator program at New York University. Bessie was an educator at heart; she was kind, soft-spoken, full of wisdom, and gave the best advice.
In her retirement years, she enjoyed traveling with her fellow Red Hatters group, family and friends. She also enjoyed crocheting, sewing, quilting, and knitting. You could often catch her doing crossword puzzles or trying her hand at learning ceramics.
Bessie had a strong Christian faith that served as her foundation and strength which guided her throughout her life. She was a dedicated member of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church where she served as president of the gospel choir, youth advisor, and church secretary. Upon retiring, she relocated to her native North Carolina by moving to Fayetteville where she joined Second Missionary Baptist Church. There, she was a member of the floral group. She always met you with a loving smile and a kind word.
She leaves to cherish her memory: her sister, Patricia Wilkes of Clearwater, FL; seven children, Deborah of Manassa, VA, Early (Cynthia) of Chesapeake, VA, Rose (Milton) of Newburgh, NY, Carolyn (James) of Stafford, VA, Stephen of Brooklyn, NY, Diana (Kenneth) of Culpeper, VA, and Johnny of Tampa, FL; fourteen grandchildren, Derek (Michelle), Tamara (Kibbee), George, Beatrice, Early III (Armeka), Joseph, Natasha, James (Tonia), Cassandra, Brittany, Bianca (Jared), Marcus, Marquell, and Autumn; many great- and great-great-grandchildren; two brothers-in-law, Willie D. Beckwith of Salemburg, NC, and Crawford “Pete” Butler; two special friends, Katherine Whitted and Pearl Wilson; as well as a host of family and friends.
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