Bessie M. Leese (1921 - 2016)
Dec. 26, 1921 - Aug. 2, 2016 Longtime Whidbey Island, Washington resident Bessie Marie Leese, age 94, passed away in her home on August 2, 2016 with her family by her side. Bessie Marie Mott was born in Sandpoint, Idaho on December 26, 1921 to John Robert and Pauline Augusta (Ruthart) Mott. She was the last living child of a family of nine children. When Bessie was still a small child her family moved to Grandview, Washington. At the age of 13, she and her family moved to Greenbank on Whidbey Island and were caretakers for a home located on the northern edge of Lake Hancock. She often said about living in Greenbank, that she and her brother "thought they had died and gone to heaven!" Shortly after moving to the island she met her lifelong friend, Mildred Bakken and her brother, Paul Bakken. She and Mildred spent many a day riding horses instead of attending school! Bess attended Coupeville High School and graduated in 1939. She married Elwood (Ed) C. Leese in October, 1940 and they continued to live in Greenbank until 1945. They then moved to New Jersey until 1949. Then it was back to Greenbank and the small farm that they purchased. What a wonderful place to raise nine children! Then in 1996, she and Ed moved to Admirals Cove, Washington for the remainder of her years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ed in 1999; and grandson, Wade Cameron Leese (1993). She was also preceded in death by her mother; father; brothers, Ken, Jim, Lucias, Bud, Mickey; and sisters, Polly, Puss, and Dorothy. She is survived by her nine children, Malcolm (Sue) Leese, California; Wayne (Ryoko) Leese, Japan; Paul (Nancy) Leese, California; Jani (Jay) Smith of Plain, Washington; Kitty (Tom) Stewart of Coupeville, Washington; Lori (Ron) Ingram of Everett, Washington; Tim (Denise) Leese of Lynnwood, Washington; Steve Leese of Marysville, Washington; and Gerry Leese of Coupeville. She has left behind 33 grandchildren; many great grandchildren; and a few great-great grandchildren. Ask anyone who knew her, what a hard worker she was. She was still working in her flower and vegetable gardens into her nineties. During her long career she was employed as a farmer, housekeeper, gardener, caregiver, and cook. She raised sheep, cows, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens, horses, cats, dogs, lots of kids, and tended a huge vegetable garden, on the family farm. She worked in a Seattle shipyard where she was employed as an electrician and welder during WWII. During the 1960's she worked as a housekeeper, cook and gardener for Ann and Max Meerkerk. She planted many of the rhododendrons seen in the woods surrounding the original home (now Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens). She was an amazing and wonderful person, loved by all who knew her. Bess had a long and fruitful life, full of wonder and joy. She will be greatly missed. A private family graveside service was held at Sunnyside Cemetery on Saturday, August 13, 2016. A larger celebration of her life will be held at a later date (to be announced). Her family would like to thank Whidbey General Hospital's ER staff; Home Health and Hospice staff; and a special thanks to Dr. Mahal and the CCU nurses; as well as all of the Med/Surg nurses involved with the care of our mother. Arrangements entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home, Oak Harbor, WA.
Elwood Cameron Leese
1912–1999 (m. 1940)
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