Bessie Lee Sowell

June 21, 1939 ~ August 1, 2022 (age 83)


Bessie Lee entered the world on June 21, 1939.  Born to Jasper and Clarine Johnson, she was blessed to be the 1st  of 8 children. Growing up with her large family in Whiteville NC, Bessie learned how to be creative and resourceful, traits she carried throughout life. She attended Mt Olive High School in Whiteville, NC.  Bessie eventually followed her heart and relocated to the Big Apple.

Becoming a “Brooklynite”, Bessie lived in the big city, while working for the Department of Transportation on the Staten Island Ferry. She thoroughly enjoyed her time working there and meeting many different entertainers. Her warm, friendly, megawatt smile always welcomed everyone she would meet. Further expanding her love for people, Bessie was a member and union representative for DC 37 for several years. She enjoyed helping during Black History Month events as well as National Union Convention, which spiked her love for travel.

While raising her family in Brooklyn, Bessie was known as a hard worker. In her later years she loved to shop, especially finding those hidden treasures that were often appraised as antiques.  Her love of beautiful things also found its way in her appreciation of good food and good music. Bessie loved to eat!!  Her music tastes were eclectic; Aretha Franklin, to Bob Marley -but music always seemed to sooth her soul or bring back pleasant memories of her many adventures. If she could eat or shop or do both at the same time- add her favorite song now, it always placed a smile on her face !!!  

Bessie Lee Sowell transitioned on August 1, 2022. She is survived by her two children James Williams, and Gwendolyn Fairley. Her loving Daughter in Law Gina Williams, Grandchildren Matthew, Tyrrell (William), and Jessica. Sisters Shirley Hunter, Kathleen Rouse, Jackolean Lashley, and brother Roscoe Johnson. Brother in laws- Richard Hunter, Jack Rouse, Kenmore (Casey) Lashley, and a host of nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. 

Bessie was pre-deceased by siblings Bernadette Johnson, Jasper Johnson and, Gary Johnson as well as parents Jasper and Clarine Johnson.

Let’s celebrate Bessie as we as we remember one of her favorite songs:

Everything's gonna be alright
Everything's gonna be alright

So, no woman, no cry
No woman, no cry
I say, oh little, oh little darlin'
Don't shed no tears
No woman, no cry, eh

            ~ “No  Woman, No  Cry” ~ Bob  Marley 







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Funeral Service
August 6, 2022

9:00 AM
Martin s Home for Service Inc (Montclair, NJ)

Please note
Due to COVID-19 Only 75 guest will be allowed in the Funeral Home. MASKS MUST BE WORN AT ALL TIMES!!!
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