Betty Ann Dement Bailess

Published 9:04 am Thursday, February 4, 2021

Betty Ann Dement Bailess, having been known as Betty Ann, Betty, Mom, Moo, Mama Bear, and most affectionately and importantly, as Gaw-Gaw, departed for her heavenly home on Feb. 3, 2021, to reunite with those who went before her.

Betty was born in Jackson on Aug. 28, 1929, the elder daughter of Russel Forman Dement and Doris Kaiser Dement. The family also resided in Vicksburg as Russel moved up in the corporate structure of Bell Telephone.

Betty attended Carr Central High School where she met her high school sweetheart, Oren Bailess. The pair then attended Millsaps College, where Betty pledged Kappa Delta Sorority, was selected as a majorette in the band and Oren played center on the football team.

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On Oct. 9, 1949, Betty and Oren married, and on their first anniversary, the newlyweds welcomed their first child, Butch. Betty and Oren were blessed with five more children over the next eight years. Betty was the epitome of a selfless mother, offering wisdom, guidance and love to many others beyond their brood of six.

In addition to mothering, Betty held many roles at the Bailess Shell Service Station and joined Oren at the Warren County Chancery Clerk’s Office in 1983. The duo passionately and diligently served together there for 12 years and were never far from each other at home or the office.

Aside from serving her family well and always putting them first, Betty’s other passion was contributing her time, talent and treasure to the church. She was a member of Hawkins United Methodist Church for 69 years where she faithfully participated in many ways but was best known for her decades of singing alto in the choir.

Betty is preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her son, Oren D. Bailess Jr.; and her grandson, John Howard Vaught Mims Jr.

She is survived by her four daughters, Cathie Newton (John), Ginger Richardson, Judy Nasif (George), and Susan Mims (Johnny); one son, Bobby (Natalie); a sister, Dottie D. Justice; 18 grandchildren, Jason Bailess, Bucky Bailess (Courtney), Brett Bailess (Meredith), Russ Bailess (Gretchen), Katherine Bailess (Michael), Becca Stewart (John Michael), Les Newton, Brooke Hood (Ryan), Bo Newton (Brooke), Craig Newton (Angie), Shelly Kirkland (Keith), Katie Wiygul (Jess), Chris Nasif (Sarah), Blake Nasif (Maggie), Neely Moffett (Drew), John Morgan Mims (Anna), Vaughn Mims (Heather) and Mary Lindley Amacker (Brandon); 37 great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Carolyn B. Ivey; nieces, cousins and many loved ones.

The family is tremendously grateful for the staff of Heritage House Assisted Living, Amada Senior Care, led by John Merrell, and Kindred Hospice, and especially Gaw-Gaw’s caretakers Latoya O’Neal, Adrea Wells, Shannon Hamlin, Olivia Tarver, Penny Sweet and Vicki McKay, for their compassionate care.

Due to COVID restrictions, there will be a graveside service for family only at Greenlawn Gardens Cemetery under the direction of Fisher-Riles Funeral Home.

Gaw Gaw’s grandsons will serve as pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, Betty’s family requests that memorials be made to Hawkins United Methodist Church Abundant Life Center Debt Retirement Fund or to Good Shepherd Community Center.