Elizabeth (Bess) Marshall Tracy passed away at peace surrounded by family Friday evening, August 10, 2018. Her amazing smile and positive chant (“It’s a good day!”) were always present during her courageous fight with brain cancer.
Born June 1, 1954, Bess was younger than her two brothers and the second oldest of her five sisters.
Many of Bess’ favorite past times arose as a young child raised in rural Wood County. Playing outside was the norm which led to a love of the sun, gardening particularly flowers, swimming,raising farm animals (especially pigs) and more. Mowing the lawn, a chore the Tracy children avoided whenever possible, would become Bess’ favorite therapeutic craft. Bess and her siblings spent many a summer day at the Bowling Green City Pool leading to Bess’ stellar years on swim and dive teams and early years as a swim instructor and lifeguard in BG and GR. Taking her two girls and more recently her grandkids swimming was the best way to spend a summer day for Bess. The young Tracys had a ready-made team that regularly played kickball, softball and volleyball inspiring Bess’ love of sports and a competitive nature. Many a family party was held at Portage Quarry where sister Kath and Steve sparked family volleyball competitions. She loved joining family at Tigers ball games, too. She was also a proud member of the Tracy Fossil Club.
Mom, Dad and all the kids dressed up in their Sunday best and attended Tontogany Presbyterian Church, Sunday and Vacation Bible School. More recently, Bess became an Elder dedicating many hours developing, organizing and celebrating her spirituality in church activities, services, sessions, Vacation Bible School and Theos’ Theater.
Bess graduated from Otsego High School in 1972 and still gathered regularly with her former classmates (Club 54) to share old memories and make new ones.
Bess’ pride and joy were her daughters and grandchildren. Bess worked 3rd shift, late night/early morning hours for over 30 years ever the supportive and proud parent and Meme at all school, extracurricular and summer activities. Meme was often seen with her grandchildren swimming, at church, ball games, DQ or just making dinner, playing cards or board games and having a sleepover. Bess loved family parties and good food, like burger bars, her yummy pumpkin cookies or banana bread. She worked hard and played even harder!
Bess’ heart was filled with compassion and empathy which extended beyond her daughters, grandchildren, siblings, 17 nieces and nephews and their children. Wherever she went – walking down the street, at a game or in an airport, Bess always saw someone she knew asking about family, expressing concern and sharing her love.
Bess is survived by her daughter Jill Christine (Michel) Bechstein and their children Elizabeth (Lizzie) Robin, Alexis (Lexie) Erin and Robert Michel and her daughter Hillary Erin (Kurt) Maxheimer and their children Jordan Skye, Bryce Cameron, Kaden Andrew and twins Blake Taylor and Brady Allen. Bess is survived by her brothers Robert Burnham (Anne Goodwin) Tracy, Geofrey Lister (Polly Hylant deceased 1990) Tracy, and sisters Susan Andrews Tracy, Martha O’Riley (Bruce) Antill and Sarah Farnsworth Wing. Bess was preceded in death by her parents Robert Burnham (1998) and Hazel Lister Tracy (1994) and by sister Katharine (Doye) Sergent (2012).
Tontogany Presbyterian Church, 18470 Main Street in Tontogany, will hold visitation from 4-7pm, Wednesday, August 15. The Memorial Services will begin at 11am on Thursday, August 16 in the church. A Celebration of Life will follow at Otsego Park.
Memorial contributions in Bess’ memory may be made to the Hope Lodge, 11432 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, OH 44106.