Bessie Cowan Wilson

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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Bessie Cowan Wilson, a long-time resident of Cooleemee, died on April 11, 2019, surrounded by family, resting at her daughter’s home in Kernersville.

Born on Jan. 31, 1940 in Rowan County to Leno and Luveda Neely Cowan, she had an infectious laugh and appeared to never meet a stranger.  She had a nurturing spirit shared with her husband, children and grandchildren, but also to her extended family, friends, community, and unsparingly to animals, particularly those seeking shelter. A glance at her plants and garden is but a reflection of her nurturing hands. She met the love of her life, a serviceman on leave from his first tour in the U.S. Army, Lonnie Wilson Sr. They wed on March 21,1956 in York, S.C. and from this union three children were born: Sharon Venice, Lonnie Alexander Jr., and Reginald Alan, her pride and joy. She touched their lives of most in the Cooleemee area in some special way. she crossed generational paths of young minds. She was an excellent cook, salon owner and hairdresser. She was a member of the Cooleemee Home Demonstration Club and served for many years as president of the Cooleemee Civitan Club.  As a community activist fighting for social justice and voting registration and as Deaconess and longstanding member of New Shepard Baptist Church, where she also served on the Missionary Board, financial clerk, and several other leadership capacities, she secured her position as a pillar of the community. She was sassy, savvy, bold, funny, fiercely honest, and selfless.  L

Survivors: her husband of 63 years, Lonnie Wilson; daughter, Sharon (Adrian) Swygert; sons, Lonnie Jr. (Dianna) and Reginald (Wendy); sisters, Helen (Arthur) Beaty, and Ruby (Herbert) Melvin; grandchildren, Monique Wilson, Gabriella Wilson, Ryan Wilson, Sydney Doucette Wilson, Ariana Swygert; great-granddaughter, Nadiya Wilson; 3 sisters-in-law, Jessie Wilson, Mildred Phifer and Mary Lee Bines; a goddaughter, Regina Carson; and a host of nieces, nephews and extended family.  As a result of extensive ancestry research conducted by her granddaughter Monique, she was introduced to and united with siblings, Brenda Honeycutt, Lonnie (Lynda) Cranfield, Ronnie Cranfield, Susan (Terry) Murray and Althea (Karl) Scoggins.

Her funeral service will be held on Monday, April 22 at 11 a.m. at Victory Baptist Church in Cooleemee. The Rev. Curtis Cummings will officiate and burial will follow in National Cemetery in Salisbury. The family will receive friends at the church one hour before the service. A public viewing will take place Sunday, April 21 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Graham Funeral Home in Mocksville.

Memorials: New Shepherd Baptist, PO Box 548, Cooleemee.