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Obituary for Jan Leatherman

Ponca City Now - May 17, 2018 11:07 am

Jan Leatherman

January 26, 1945 – May 14, 2018

Bessie Mae Washington

November 2, 1937 – May 21, 2018

Bessie Mae (Price) Washington, 80, a loving and devoted mother, aunt, sister and friend, went to be with our Lord, after overcoming several major health complications.

“Aunt Bessie, Mama Bessie, or Ms. Bessie,” as she was affectionately known, peacefully surrendered her fight on May 21, 2018. She lived a life full of joy and laughter, never meeting a stranger.
Born in Pawnee, OK, on November 2, 1937 to Ervin Price Sr and Hattie Orenza (Freow), the third girl of 10 children, she had a wonderful childhood, growing up in the country with loving parents and a church-going family.

Baptized at an early age at Antioch Baptist Church in Pawnee, OK, she leaned on her faith through every trial in life.

A 1956 graduate of Attucks High School in Ponca City, she was smart and popular. She was a majorette on what was then the top high school band in Oklahoma, as well as the secretary of the Student Council and a member of NHA and Y-Teen. She got good grades and studied cosmetology hoped to become a nurse.

After high school, she worked at various jobs, before going to work as a PBX operator at Conoco Oil Refinery in Ponca City. She was there 14 years, until moving to Tulsa where she retired from American Airlines as an Parts Clerk in 2003.

On March 27, 1965 she married George Washington, Jr, a sharp-dressing barber and owner of the only Black barber shop in Ponca City. Three years later, in 1968, they added a daughter, Cassandra, to their union. After giving it her all, she divorced in December 1974 but never remarried.

Bessie focused instead on taking care of her family, from helping her aging parents, raising her daughter, and caring for her brothers and sisters when they needed her most.

She had a special bond with her daughter Cassandra – Bessie was mother, best friend, confidant, protector, and always supporting Cassandra’s hopes and dreams in whatever way she could. Her biggest joy came from spending time with family and entertaining and sharing good times with friends.

She was the glue of the family – searching for and locating her brother Ralph after 30 years, being a foster mom to seven children, and being there to help anyone on her or her husband’s side of the family when it was needed.

Her delicious home-cooked meals were the highlight of many family functions, holidays, or anytime folks gathered around her. She gladly welcomed everyone. She especially enjoyed lavishing attention and affection on small children at an elementary school and at her home where she provided childcare.
Her parents, Ervin Sr, and Hattie, preceded her in death as did her husband, George Jr, and siblings, brothers, Ervin Jr., Ralph, William and Robert; sisters, Esther Ruth Hill, Hattie Louise Duncan and Connie Price and her beloved four-legged granddog, Oreo.

She is survived by her daughter, Cassandra Washington, of Cedar Hill, TX; her sister, Dorothy Reed McFarlin, of Tulsa, OK and her brother, Willie Price, of Wylie, TX, as well as a host of nieces and nephews, cousins, greats & great greats, and dear friends from both Texas and Oklahoma.

A funeral service will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at Grace Memorial Chapel. The reverend Ron Overton will officiate. Mrs. Washington will be available for viewing on Friday, May 25th from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. online condolences can be written at www.gracememorialchapel.net