The story of the life of Bessie Marie Tackett-Raley is one filled with strength, exuberance, and love for those she held dear. As a young girl, Bessie showed her true spirit by leaving school in 6th grade to work as a waitress in order to help support her mother raise her four siblings. Even with starting to work at such a young age, it took a lot of convincing from her children to get Bessie to finally retire from the Bush Brothers Canning Company where she enjoyed many years of chatting while canning with her co-workers.
Her son, Darwin, fondly remembers times spent as a family watching their prized black and white TV. Bessie loved watching the Reverend Billy Graham preach and some "HeeHaw" on Saturday afternoons. Her favorite daily indulgence was an episode of "As the World Turns." Bessie was a member of the First Baptist Church of Fort Gibson where she was found virtually every Sunday sitting in the third pew on the right. She always had a sweet word for everyone and a stick of Juicy Fruit in her purse for restless grandkids having trouble sitting still during a sermon. She was also a member of the American Legion Women's Auxiliary League. She was a "Hip Granny" before grannies were considered hip. She would join right in with any silliness going on if she wasn't creating it herself. Holidays and Sunday afternoons with family all around were filled with laughter, lots of lively debate, and much warmth. Bessie cherished those moments the most.
Bessie spoke of her husband, Erval, with such love in her voice and gratitude for the good man he had been. Her favorite story of Erval was of traveling by bus to meet him while on leave during WWII. He was so overcome with joy to see her that she was promptly scooped up, thrown over his shoulder, and carried straight up the stairs to their apartment. The annual trip to decorate Erval's grave at the National Cemetery was very important to her as she honored him and the life they had shared.
She is remembered by her family as being tenacious, tireless, spunky, full of life, proud of her family, and for having a steadfast love for God. Bessie was known to walk daily around town as early as 4 am for exercise. She is most certainly strolling on Erval's arm in heaven above with a smile and a hug for the family she loved so much.
Bessie was born June 17, 1924 in Dewey, OK, the daughter of John and Betty (Rooster) Wilden. Bessie died peacefully at the age of 93 on Thursday, March 1, 2018 in Muskogee, OK. Survivors include her sons, Darwin Tackett and wife, Murl, and Rickie Lee Tackett all of Fort Gibson; grandchildren, Verna Tackett of New Jersey, Greg Tackett and wife, Amy, of Bartlesville, Cheryl Todd and husband, Brian of Overland Park, KS, Chris Cox of Fort Gibson, LaCretia Lee of Tahlequah, Eric Tackett and wife, Andrea of Muskogee, Natalie Hobbs and husband, Zachary, of Fort Gibson; numerous great-grandchildren; and special friend, Bernice Hayes. She was preceded in death by her parents; daughter, Barbara Jean Cox; and husbands, Erval Tackett and Sam Lester Raley.
Funeral services for Bessie will be held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at the First Baptist in Fort Gibson with Pastor Roger Shaw and Pastor Don Blankenship officiating. Deacons from the First Baptist Church will serve as pallbearers. Burial will be in Fort Gibson National Cemetery under the direction of Lescher-Millsap Funeral Service of Fort Gibson.
Published on March 3, 2018