Sunrise: 1/23/1925 – Sunset: 7/16/2022
Bessie Lee Harris Tolliver ascended to Heaven approximately on July 16, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona where she resided since 1985. She was 97 years old. Bessie Lee was born January 23, 1925 in Akron, Ohio. She was one of six children by Pompey and Ollie Harris. She could not imagine the life she would have when she met William Tolliver also of Akron, Ohio. They married on December 19th, 1942 and over time had six children. They experienced the world through the US Air Force at a time when there were few Blacks present in their overseas journeys.
After the death of her husband William Tolliver in 1984, Bessie and members of her family relocated from Shaker Heights, Ohio to Tempe, AZ where she resided until her death.
Mom had a bright mind and smile throughout her life. She was an avid health practitioner, her guilty pleasures were ice cream and peanut brittle over the years. When she was able, Mom enjoyed gospel music, sewing and garage/yard sales. She was creative, witty, enjoyed good biblical debate that at times, found herself at odds with the patriarchal clergymen of various churches she attended. She was a devoted Christian and indoctrinated her six children and numerous grandchildren with her belief. Mom’s faith in the Lord was like no other and her prayers comforted and sustained many of her family through the thick and thin of times. She always emphasized that we only have “ONE DAY AT A TIME.” Mom was generous to a fault. She was a benefactor to many televangelists, incarcerated folk, orphans, the homeless and family members. She was also a prolific reader and letter writer to various figures in the public eye and often received responses back: Eldridge Cleaver, Louis Farrakhan, Jimmy Carter and the Clintons during their presidency. Mom saw herself as royalty; The King’s Daughter for which she was!
Mom was blunt at times in judgment of her children and marriage but love was there.
Mom will be remembered for her sacrifices on behalf of her family often at the expense of herself and wellbeing. She was a strong, resilient Woman, Wife, Activist and Mother. She leaves behind her six children; Judith, Stephen, Lafayette, John, Merry and Gabriel, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Internment will be Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 2pm, Mount Peace Cemetery, Akron, Ohio.
We’ll see her on the other side.
Posted online on September 08, 2022
Published in Akron Beacon Journal