Bessie Richardson Dillard

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Bessie Richardson Dillard was born on October 1, 1919, in Issaquena County, MS to Lucinda Jones Richardson and Albert Richardson. She sweetly entered into the arms of Jesus on Friday, November 11, 2022, at 3:57 p.m. at her home, surrounded by her family, in Vicksburg, MS.  Bessie was saved at an early age and baptized at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Floweree, MS where she was a faithful member and Secretary. She later joined The House of Peace Worship Church International in Vicksburg, MS, under the pastorate of Apostle Linda Sweezer-Rowster. She was promoted by God to become a minister and a mother of this church. She was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred Dillard Jr.; one daughter, Flora; and four sons: William, Thaddeus, John, and Larry and ten siblings.

Bessie was married on Valentine’s Day to the love of her life, Alfred Dillard Jr. for more than sixty years. She was blessed with ten children: William, Thaddeus, John, James, Bessie Mae, Perry, Larry, Marilyn, Flora, and Linda. Bessie later adopted two daughters: Felicia and Ramona.

On March 23, 2022, Bessie was honored by Mayor George Flaggs and The City of Vicksburg for her accomplishments with the renaming of Hannah Avenue to Bessie Dillard Avenue.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Bessie graduated from Magnolia High School, later renamed Bowmar High School. Bessie graduated from Alcorn State University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She furthered her educational endeavors as she attended Jackson State University where she earned a Master of Elementary Education Degree and a Specialist’s Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Reading. She served as a “Master of Her Craft”, a teacher, for twenty-three years in the Vicksburg-Warren School System.

She leaves to cherish her memories seven children: James Dillard (Tina), Bessie Mae Funches, Perry Dillard (Anna), Marilyn Dillard, Linda Sweezer-Rowster (Timothy), Felicia Jones (Anderson), and Ramona Latham; two sisters: Geneva Johnson and Hazel Bell; numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, one sister-in-law, Margaret Richardson, three daughters-in-law: Maude Dillard, Patricia Dillard, Patricia Evans Dillard, and many, many relatives and friends.