Bessie Zimmerman (Miller)
Bessie Corean Miller Zimmerman, born in western Kansas July 1, 1918, passed away January 3, 2018, in Panama City, FL, after a life of 99 years and six months.
Bessie was born in her parents’ home and delivered by a doctor who arrived on horseback. She attended one-room schools through her elementary years before graduating from Mullinville High School in Kiowa County. She furthered her education the Teachers’ College in Emporia, KS, and received a teaching certificate. From 1937 - 1939 she taught in one-room schools in Kiowa County, KS. She once bragged that her salary during her teaching years increased from $65 to $75 a month!
On November 18, 1939, she married Raymon Zimmerman of Mullinville, and they moved to Wichita, KS, where Raymon worked as a welder and machinist. After Raymon’s military duty in World War II, they bought a farm near Rose Hill, Kansas, where their four children grew up doing farm chores and working the wheat fields. Bessie started the “hot lunch” program at the Rose Hill School and was the first president of the Parent Teacher Association.
Bessie’s life revolved around Bible study, her deep faith, her family, and music. She taught children’s music and vacation Bible School at the Rose Hill Methodist church, then accompanied worship services on the piano and organ at the Rose Hill Bible Church, the Calvary Baptist Church in Derby, KS, and Beth Eden Baptist Church in Wichita. She was a soprano soloist, and she made certain that all her children took piano lessons and sang in church music groups. All four of her children, and many of her grandchildren, are currently involved in leadership roles in their churches and many are involved in some aspect of music ministry. For the past 25 plus years Bessie has been an active member of First Bible Baptist Church, now MorningStar Community Church.
In 1973 Raymon and Bessie sold the farm and moved to Wichita, where Raymon worked as a welder until his retirement in 1983. After retirement, Raymon and Bessie made frequent trips to Arizona, Texas, and Florida to visit their children and grandchildren, and traveled extensively across the United States. After Raymon died in 2000, Bessie lived independently and visited her children regularly until 2016 when she moved to the Beehive Homes of Panama City, FL, for her final 16 months. The family is grateful for the excellent care she received from the staff at Beehive. During family visits, Bessie was famous for the delicious chocolate chip cookies she made!
Bessie is survived by four children: Donna Rae Wood (Richard) of Wichita, KS; Errol Zimmerman (Carolyn) of Phoenix, AZ; Dean Zimmerman (Connie) of Sunnyvale, TX, and Nevin Zimmerman (Gigi) of Panama City, FL. In addition, she is survived by 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Visitation for family and friends will be held Friday, January 12, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Smith Family Mortuary, 1415 N. Rock Rd., Derby, KS 67037. A memorial service celebrating Bessie’s life will be conducted on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm at the Morningstar Community Church, 11010 E. Kellogg Dr., Wichita, KS 67207. A private graveside service will precede the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Kansas Child Evangelism Fellowship (https://www.cefofkansas.com) or the Bay County Christian Youth Choir (https://www.baycountychristianyouthchoir.com)