Earlier this week Bibb City lost one of its most avid ambassadors. Longtime resident Bessie Bacon passed away at the age of 101.
Four years ago Mrs. Bacon was featured in our News 3 Neighbors segment which highlights folks who are making a positive impact on our community. Today we re-aired the story as a way of paying special tribute to this community treasure.
What follows is the written contents of the story that originally aired in 2017:
Bibb City resident Rick McKnight affectionately refers to Bessie Bacon as the Queen of Bibb City. She has lived there since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. Bessie moved to Columbus from the Dothan area along with her sister in 1941.
Mrs. Bacon recalls, “I moved into Bibb City after I came to Columbus and I found out right away we had very nice neighbors. And I could name every neighbor up and down the street before the mill closed.”
Bessie started working at the Bibb Mill at the age of 21. “I first went to work in the spinning room on the second shift, and then I was transferred to the office. I worked in the payroll department.” She worked at the Bibb 43 years.
It was there she met her husband Roy. “Roy worked at night and I was lonely. We lived on Hemlock Drive and I remember sitting on the porch one night before sundown. I just looked out into space and I said, Lord, please send me a baby. And it was not long before He answered that prayer,” says Bessie.
Their only child, Bruce, was born December 22, 1956. He spends a lot of time with his mom at her home on First Avenue where she’s lived since 1964.
Her backyard neighbor is Steve Gray. They used to serve on Bibb City Council together. Gray says, “She knew everything about Bibb City…so smart.”
In 2017 Rick McKnight was serving as president of the Bibb Village Association. He places great value on Ms. Bessie’s input. “When Ms. Bessie calls, I hop,” McKnight says with a chuckle. “She is a fount of information about what the Bibb Mill was like, what these mill communities were in the fabric of the South. Just to sit at her feet and listen is miraculous.”
Ms. Bessie has made significant contributions to Bibb City’s past, but she doesn’t see age as any reason not to continue to contribute to the plans for Bibb City’s future. According to McKnight, “It’s destined to rise again and Bessie helps us remember from whence we came.”
A celebration of life will be held for Bessie Bacon on Saturday, September 18th at Striffler-Hamby Mortuary on Macon Road at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Columbus Hospice, Mercy Med, or the West Central Georgia Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.