Bessie Karlene Crail Hart, 100 years old
Proverbs 31:10,25,26. Who can find a virtuous woman? … for her price is far above rubies. Strength and honor are her clothing and in her tongue is kindness.
Bessie Karlene Crail Hart was born on May 3, 1919 in the family farmhouse located in Prairie Township, Kempton, Ind. She was the daughter of the late Stella Eve Orr Crail and Asa Temple Crail.
Asa was born in 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War. Stella suffered with the Spanish flu while pregnant for Bessie. Bessie grew up with five sisters. Since there were no sons on the farm, she was one of the three girls who worked as farm hands while the others did household chores.
Bessie attended Prairie Township School graduating in 1937. She was an excellent student and in 1930 won the Tipton County Spelling Bee. During that time she was a ten year member of 4-H winning many grand championships especially in sewing. Because of her successes in 4-H, she earned the privilege of attending 4-H State Fair School and the Internation-al Livestock Show in Chicago. The girls who won that trip were entertained with extravagant meals and by famous entertainers of the time like Fibber McGee and Molly.
Because of her success in 4-H, she was hired by the Singer Sewing Machine Company in Frankfort, Indiana, to sell sewing machines and teach sewing lessons. During that time she met her true love, Lester Vern Hart, and they were married May 14, 1941. They enjoyed almost forty years together until his death in 1981.
After they were married, they moved to Tipton, Ind. Bessie became a housewife and mother of two children, Lester Asa Hart and Linda Kay Hart Earnest. She tended a huge garden and canned all the fruits and vegetables the family needed. For many years she also made most of the clothing she and Linda wore.
Bessie and Lester V. always attempted to turn adversity into opportunity. When they recognized he was in poor health, they decided she would attend Indiana Wesleyan Univer-sity at age 48.
She graduated at age 51 and spent her entire career educating young children in Tipton Public Schools. She completed her Master’s degree at Indiana Univer-sity and taught until she was 70 years old.
Bessie was an active member of Trinity Wes-leyan Church for 75 years. Her dedication to people extended to her many years of church service. She taught Sunday school classes and CYC to all different ages in a 50 year span, served on the church board, chaired the funeral dinner and prayer chain committees, and eventually on the Board of Trustees at Indiana Wesleyan Univer-sity.
Bessie rarely had a negative thing to say. Her generosity was well known. Some would call her a philanthropist. Bessie passed away peacefully on Friday, April 17, 2020 at Colonial Oaks Healthcare in Marion, Ind., following a brief illness of pneumonia and the coronavirus.
Bessie was dearly loved and will be sorely missed by her family and many friends.
She is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Burton of Kempton; a son, Dr. Lester Asa Hart (Dr. Kathryn) of West Chester, Penn.; daughter, Linda K. Earnest (Martin Leon) of Fairmount; grandchildren, Lester Paul Hart (Angie) of Carmel, Calif.; Jason Hsing Hart (Dr. Kathryn Ann) of New York, N.Y.; Dr. Kathryn Ming Chu Hart (Jacob) of Williamstown, Mass.; great-grandchildren, Madi-son, Emma, Samantha, Jack, Beatrix, and Cora; and several nieces and nephews.
Bessie was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and sisters, Marjorie Crail, Evelyn Christy, Mary Teter, and Alice Longfellow.
There was a private burial in Fairview Cemetery, Tipton on Monday, April 20 due to the quarantine. There will be a memorial service honoring her life near the date of what would have been her 102nd birthday, Saturday, May 1, 2021.
Young-Nichols Funeral Home has assisted the Hart family with Bessie’s arrangements.
Memorial donations in Bessie’s memory may be made to the Trinity Wesleyan Church, 3021 W. State Road 28, Tipton, Ind. 46072.