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In Honor Of Bessie

Ma·tri·arch – A highly respected woman who is also a mother. A fitting term for such a wonderful lady. Bessie Ullman was loved by all those who knew her. How could you not? She was smart, spunky, determined and compassionate. Bessie was a life-long volunteer in the Ottumwa community. She served in multiple capacities to her beloved church, the B’nai Jacob Synagogue, accepted numerous community leadership roles such as appointment to the mayor’s Human Rights Commission ,as well as board service to United Way and the YWCA to name but a few. Need further proof? At the time of Bessie’s death she had accumulated 59 years of volunteer service to the Ottumwa Hospital who rewarded her commitment with induction to the Health Care Hall of Fame. Bessie was also very active politically, serving as President of Democratic Women of Southern Iowa. And yes, Bessie could tell a fascinating story or two, such as meeting Presidents Kennedy and Johnson as well as Senator Robert Kennedy. Bessie was 98 years old when she died and during those 98 years she led a full and rewarding life that was devoted to volunteering, community and most of all her family whom she considered her greatest accomplishment. Perhaps that is why her family made the decision to create an endowment in her honor, ensuring that her spirit of service could live on.