Celebrating the life of Alice S. Bass
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A Time to Plant . . . The vines of her life were rooted in Jennings Ordinary, Nottoway County, where she grew up in a loving and nurturing home surrounded by caring relatives and friends. She was baptized early and began, as a child, her lifelong membership with the First Nottoway Baptist Church. Taught early by her parents to work in the Church, young Alice participated eagerly in the Sunday School and the Church choir.
A Time to Learn . . . She was educated in the public schools of the county, graduating from the Nottoway Training and High School, Blackstone, VA. With a joy for learning, she entered Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville where she graduated in 1939 with an Associates Degree. She continued her education at Virginia State College where she received her B.S. Degree in Elementary Education and later her accreditation as a Librarian.
A Time to Build Up . . . She began her teaching career in the then segregated school system of Nottoway County and worked as an elementary school teacher and librarian for forty-three years. During that time she devoted herself to young people in and out of her classes and taught the values of education, particularly reading, to hundreds of children throughout the county. Generous and loving, disciplined and proper, she encouraged each child to pursue their talents and ambitions.
In 1945, she married the late William H. Bass, Jr. of Crewe. The couple was blessed with one son, William H. Bass, III.
Mrs. Bass held several positions in the First Nottoway Baptist Church. She served as Church Clerk for twenty-five years. For many years she was President of the Senior Choir and President of the Ladies Missionary Society, noting even at the age of 85, that she had to prepare “Christmas baskets for the elderly”.
Mrs. Bass also served as head of the Church and Youth Programs Committees. She served as Treasurer of the Church and a member of the committees to appoint a Pastor. She initiated and directed the Vacation Bible School Program and was a Deaconess in the Church. She was a Sunday School Teacher and was responsible for many Church plays, programs and pageants.
Mrs. Bass was a Past Worthy Matron of the Order of Eastern Star.
Throughout her life, “Mrs. Bass” was, above all else, an educator. “Teaching the children” was not only her occupation, but also her hobby, her love, her life long passion. She “pushed” learning to both the willing and the unwilling, not only at school but also in the church; when she started the vacation bible school at First Nottoway, she recruited every kid she could find, not just the ones in her church but also those in every black church in the county and quite a few who didn’t go to church. As a teacher she taught many hundreds of black kids to read; as a librarian she encouraged many hundreds of kids, black and white, to keep on reading, she seized every opportunity to educate and she inherently knew before the term became popular that “reading is fundamental”. Many of those mourning her today would not have achieved the status they now hold had it not been for her gentle but firm and fair encouragement early on. She called all of her students “my children”. Even if she saw you on the street and you were 50 or 60 years old, she’d still call you one of her children. She loved her children and they love her back. Fortunately for her, during her lifetime she heard many times from many of her children what was to her the highest accolade she could ever receive: “You were always my favorite teacher.”
A Time to Laugh . . . The joys of her life were her family, friends, young children, her flowers, and First Nottoway Baptist Church. To her family, she was “Auntie”, counted on by her nieces and nephews for support and encouragement. To the community, she was “Mrs. Bass”, noted for her kindness, grace, and willingness to help others. To her son and daughter-in-law and later her nurses, she was “Mother Dear.”
She enjoyed doing things for others and lending her full support to any endeavor in which her family, friends, or Church was involved.
A Time to Die . . . Mrs. Bass’ call to eternal rest came on Sunday morning, August 2, 2009, at her home in Jennings Ordinary. She slipped away just as quietly and peacefully as she had lived.
A Time of Peace . . . A loving wife, mother, mother-in-law, teacher, sister, aunt, cousin and friend, the legacy of her season is left to her son and daughter-in-law, William and Jean Bass of Midlothian, VA, her two sisters, Fannie Johnson of Petersburg, VA and Marjorie Hill of Richmond, VA, her two sisters-in-law, Ernestine Bass of Crewe, VA and Eva Johnson of Jacksonville, FL, one brother-in-law, Frank Hill of Richmond, VA, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, loving cousins, friends, nursing assistants, and the First Nottoway Baptist Church family.
Funeral Services Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at First Nottoway Baptist Church, Crewe with interment in the Downs Family Cemetery, Crewe.
W.E. Hawkes & Son Funeral Home of Blackstone in charge of the arrangements.
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