We lost our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, aunt and friend on February 6, 2021 at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops BC. Bessie had been recovering from illness in hospital, (and was soon to be discharged), when she was infected with Covid near the end of January. The outbreak began in the surgical ward and spread through the entire sixth floor infecting many staff and patients. She survived the Covid infection, but her frailty, the isolation and subsequent depression from being isolated, ended her life. It is tragic that after almost a year of isolating, she had to also isolate in her final days. Bessie had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a vaccine – unfortunately, she tested positive with Covid the week the residents at her home were vaccinated.
Bessie was born October 21, 1921 on a homestead near Bankend, Saskatchewan. She was the oldest of five children and often reminisced about the joys and hardships of her early years on the farm. Later, she fell in love with a tall, good-looking young mechanic named Earnie Dean from nearby Rosetown and was married on June 15, 1940. He was the love of her life and they were happily married for 65 years. She called him her “Dean Martin.” Bessie was a whiz with numbers and was an excellent money manager. Despite having a very modest income in hard times, Bessie was always able to save. Not long after they were married, she surprised Earnie with $300 she had saved – the equivalent buying power of $5,000.00 in today’s money. After that, she handled the money. She was always frugal with herself, but generous with her loved ones – they never wanted for anything. She maintained the household and supported their business endeavours which included owning a garage, partnership in a car dealership, and a civil construction company. Bessie and Earnie had two daughters born in 1942 and 1947 and subsequently many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. They moved to B.C. in 1949 and to Williams Lake in 1959 where Earnie worked for the Dept. Of Highways. They then transferred to Revelstoke in 1971 where Earnie retired in 1978. To escape the deep snow, they moved to the Fraser Valley for 13 years before settling in Quesnel in 1991. They both enjoyed their retirement years – visiting family and friends and lots of road trips. Bessie loved car rides – it was her favourite past time. In 2005, she lost her lifetime love and partner and then lived on her own for many years. She was lonely at times, but she valued her independence - when she was 91, she renewed her driver’s license during a Quesnel snow storm. In 2015, due to back problems, she moved back to the Fraser Valley to be with her older daughter. After a time, she moved to Kamloops to live with one of her granddaughters. The final almost two years of her life, she lived at Active Care Seniors Home where she was considered part of their ‘family.’ She often commented on how caring and hard-working the staff were at her place. She loved her room and the delicious homemade meals – served on time. This was important to Bessie as she was always very punctual and disciplined and appreciated the same in others.
She is survived by her two daughters, Doreen Armstrong, Eileen Popoff (Cec), nine grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and many great-great grandchildren. She also treasured, and was treasured by, numerous nieces and nephews. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Earnie Dean, her mother, Bertha McRobbie, her father James McRobbie, her sisters, Bernice (Sam) Peet and Rose (Buster) Doye, her brothers, Bill McRobbie and Ted (Helen) McRobbie, brother in-laws John (Erna) Dean, Russel (Myrus) Dean, her grandson, Dale Armstrong, grandson-in laws Jim Graham, John Cameron, son in-law Jack Armstrong and also several beloved nieces and nephews.
Throughout her life, Bessie turned every place she lived into a loving home – a welcome haven for her family. She was adored by so many and will be sadly missed. A Celebration of Life will be held later in the year at a time when we can safely gather.
Rest in paradise you were a very kind women
I am sorry for the loss of Bessie Dean. My heart goes out to all of her family and friends. RIP Safe in the hands of God. She's gone home to be with the love of her life and many other family and friends. My Condolences to all of you!
I was glad I got to see Aunty Bessie when I was out that way, she was 94 then and sharp as a tack. We talked about my mom and dad Mirus and Russel Dean, there was so many more questions I would have liked to ask her. As a child I remember stopping for the night in Revelstoke at Aunty and Uncles on our way to Grannies. She greeted everyone with a hot cup of tea and a amazing meal. Enjoy your tea with the family Aunty Bessie till we meet again. My Sincere Condolences to Toots, Eileen and Cec our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of sorrow
I’m so sad that I was unable to see my grandmother this past summer when I mad a loop through southern BC. Because of covid restrictions I was not allowed on the grounds to at least have her see me and I of her. I will miss you dearly and have always thought of you through out every day. I’m going to miss you dearly and I pray your in a better place with grandpa now. The happiness will be abundant now for the both who loved each other so much are together again.
Our love to all the Family..Aunty Bessie was a very special lady and I loved hearing the stories of when she was younger and lived on the farm with my Dad (Ted McRobbie) ..I was able to see her on her 99th birthday...spry as ever