On April 30 at 5:35 a.m., WWII, Korea, Vietnam Veteran James Monroe Bess “Jim” passed away peacefully with his wife Dixie and family by his side. Jim was born July 27, 1928 in Portland, Mo. to Thomas and Isabel Bess. He was raised on a farm, attended a small one room school and graduated from Mokane High School in 1946. Growing up Jim longed to be a United States soldier. After graduating he joined the Army and began his life long journey of serving the country he loved. His experiences during his 23 year enlistment shaped the countless stories that he loved to recount with a clarity that amazed and captivated all that heard them.
In 1949 he married Conza Mae Baldwin and together they adopted their two daughters Dee and Susie and their son James. After Jim retired from the Army at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4) in 1969 their family settled in Carrington, Mo. at the family farm and Jim started “Can Do Services” which led to years of building homes and completing remodel jobs in the surrounding areas. Over the years Jim and Connie fostered up to eight children at a time and in the process helped countless children in their area.
Although Jim was retired from the Army his love for his country never left him. He loved to read “Army Times” and it was in one issue that he saw a civil service opportunity at DZB in Hawthorne, Nev. that would allow him to return to the work that he loved. In 1982 he moved his family to Hawthorne and fell in love with the surrounding area. In 1984 Jim lost his wife Connie to cancer. Jim met and married Dixie Pellett in 1985 and accepted a position at the Sierra Army Depot a year later in Herlong, Calif. Upon retiring in 1992 Jim and Dixie returned to Hawthorne, Nev.
Jim Bess was a humble man that lived his life grounded in his faith, centered on his family, and committed to the service of his country. In his 87 years of life he had many highlights and accomplishments. He was honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the Armed Forces Day Parade. In 2014 he was a part of the Honor Flight Nevada which flew our local veterans to Washington D.C. where they toured the memorials and were honored for their service. Jim loved the beauty of the Nevada desert and could be found driving the dirt roads on Mt. Grant and beyond with his camera in hand. He was in his glory on the hunting trips where he proudly served as the camp cook and he treasured the times he was able to spend in the great outdoors with family and friends. Anyone that has had the honor of being in the company of Jim would know the sincerity of his embrace as he would wrap you in a hug that said “seeing you again was the highlight of his day”. In his shop he created treasures for all of his children and grandchildren as he turned pieces of scrap wood into just about anything you could imagine. He loved the outdoors, eagles, and could grow anything in this parched desert climate. In fact we all laughed when Grandpa put stakes in the ground to support the vegetables in his garden and the stakes started growing leaves.
Jim is survived by his loving wife Dixie; brother John and wife Lois of Missouri; sons: Tom and wife Sabrina of Reno; Jerry of Colorado, Mike of California, James and wife Pat of Texas; Pat and wife Holly of Hawthorne; Rob of Hawthorne and daughters: Dee and husband John of California; Tracey and husband John of Reno; Susie and husband Darren of California and Lisa and husband Lloyd of Utah. Grandchildren include: Kyle Pellett (Summer); Heather Close (Jason); Sarah Brewer (Billy); Megan White; Courtney Curtis; Nick Eudy (Ashley); Zachary Pellett; Shaun Pellett (Rebecca); Jonah Pellett (Alex); Devin Eudy; Hillary Pellett; Kaitlin Pellett; Brooke Pellett; Hannah Pellett and Alyssa Eudy. Jim also leaves fourteen great grandchildren and two additional great grandchildren that are due to arrive soon.
A memorial service will take place at the LDS Church, located at 207 South A St. Hawthorne on Friday, May 20 at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow.
The family would like to thank the doctors and staff of Renown Medical Center for the exceptional care and support they provided Jim and the family during his last days. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations in Jim’s name to the Honor Flight of Nevada, P.O. Box 21123, Reno, NV 89515 or by calling Gunny Rios at 775-323-9955, www.honorflightnv.org.