Bessie Mae Livingston was born in Marianna, Arkansas, on December 31, 1920, to Robert and Isabella Campbell.
While our beloved Bessie was educated in the Marianna School District, she had a divine gift, keen wisdom, and abundant riches that could not be optimized in an academic setting. At such a time, she embraced her early appointment by walking boldly into her purpose. She used her knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a loving and faithful servant to all that she encountered. As Bessie grew in grace and accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, she continued to be an active member in the church and local communities. She was the eldest member of the Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church congregation, where she served passionately and tirelessly on the Mothers’ Board and various committees.
Bessie married Essex Livingston in 1952, where she blended and birthed an amazing legacy. Family was all that Bessie (Ma Dea) knew and taught. With praise in her heart and love as her center, she was intentional with all her actions.
Ma Dea worked as a Domestic Engineer and Helpmate to a Navy Veteran. She managed to seamlessly raise four generations of Livingston children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. She graciously touched the hearts of many as she continued to operate as a Beacon of Light, Hope, and Love. Ma Dea had a way of encouraging the discouraged and lifting the downtrodden. She enjoyed being a voice for the voiceless and reminding them of God’s goodness. In her leisure, and for sheer pleasure, Ma Dea enjoyed cooking delectable southern cuisine and baking the most decadent of pound cakes, peach cobblers, and sweet potato pies. For those that knew her best, you knew that she especially enjoyed spending time with her special friend Jack.
After a job well done and in her final moments before yielding to colon cancer, Ma Dea made the following declaration of love:
“Tell everyone I said goodbye and that I love them. I want you all to be good to one another.”
Bessie Mae is preceded in death by husband Essex Livingston; siblings Eddie Campbell, Melvin Campbell; and children George Atkins, Ivory Jean Atkins, Betty Allison, Frances Marie Fisher (Ernest).
Bessie Mae is survived by her children Hattie Cooper, Willie Bell Campbell, Tracy Willingham (Kelvin), Marete Livingston, Alfredia Livingston; brother Marion Campbell (Vanessa); sister-in-law Florida Campbell; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
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