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James Willard Bess, Sr., 83 of Hope Mills, passed away Saturday, August 21, 2021 in his home with family by his side.
Born November 27, 1937 in Montgomery, AL, James was the son of the late Cecil Bess, Sr. and Ethel Keenan Bess. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Barbara Ann Ramsey and Patricia A. Simpson; son, James Willard Bess, Jr.; and his brother, Cecil Bess, Jr.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara Bess; daughters, Delphine Meadows, Sherry Parks, Michelle Denegall, and Carmen Bess-Durdin; stepsons, Mark Kirby and Jasson Kirby; nine grandchildren; several great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and a host of other family members and friends.
While in high school, James formed a quartet with three of his friends and enjoyed singing for his classmates. After graduating high school, James joined the U.S. Air Force and served from 1956 until 1960, achieving the rank of Airman First Class. His career path would later lead him to OTR truck driving for 16 years until he became a Public Transit Driver for 20 years before he retired. Over the years. James enjoyed playing guitar and performed with several rhythm and blues bands in his lifetime. In his spare time, he enjoyed hunting and fishing. James will be deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
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