Bessie Ann McLean Bennett passed away Dec. 10, 2016, at the age of 89.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, at the Fort Stockton Church of Christ, with Darryl Scott officiating. Burial will follow at East Hill Cemetery.
Born and raised on a dryland farm in San Saba County, Texas, on March 5, 1927, she was the second child of John Daniel McLean and Henrye Locker McLean.
She attended schools initially in a one-classroom school in Bowser and later at Richland Springs High School, where she graduated as the class valedictorian in 1944. She then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas in 1948.
In the fall of 1948 in Orange, Texas, she started a teaching career that would span over the next 40 years and include subsequent stops in Balmorhea, Van Horn and finally, Fort Stockton.
While teaching in Orange, she met the love of her life, James E. Bennett, a native from east San Saba County. The couple were married on Feb. 15, 1952.
From 1954 to 1963, she took a break from teaching to not only start a family, but also to ensure her three sons' early years were well founded.
From 1963 until her retirement in 1991, she taught thousands of students the finer points of geometry. Among those students were her three sons - to whom she gave no special considerations. After her retirement from Fort Stockton ISD, she continued to support the education of local youth by volunteering countless hours as a reading mentor at Alamo Elementary.
In her free time, she enjoyed cross stitch and cooking, as well as her preferred physical and mental therapy - chopping weeds. Her pecan pralines won numerous awards and were hits at both church and family events. Her cornbread, jalapeno poppers, pea salad, pecan pie, coconut and chocolate cake were family favorites. Each morning for more than two decades, she whipped up and griddled untold thousands of hot cakes as the breakfast staple for her three growing sons.
A lifelong Christian, she truly lived as faithful member of Christ's church until her death. She was active in numerous church activities during her retirement.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her older brother, John H. McLean; and her loving husband of 58 years, James.
She is survived by her brother Robert (Bob) L. McLean of Bowser, sons and daughters-in-law, Jimmy and Diane Bennett of Fort Stockton, Bobby and Judy Bennett of Fort Stockton, Steve and Tammy Bennett of Niceville, FL, honorary son and adoptive brother, Stanley and his wife Kathy Lee of Midland; and grandchildren, Brady of Austin, Rebecca of Austin, and Shane of Tallahassee, FL.
The family is truly grateful that God blessed her with a long and very independent life until her passing. She was loved and respected by many; she will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Christian Children's Home in Portales, N.M., or to the Cherokee Home for Children in Cherokee, Texas.
Services are entrusted to Heritage Funeral Home of Fort Stockton.