Christian 08

Bessie Ruth (Cottrell) Merritt

July 6, 1934 ~ December 16, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Bessie Merritt Obituary

Bessie Ruth Merritt was born July 6, 1934 at home in Sandcut, (Vigo County), Indiana. She passed away on December 16, 2023 at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center Mishawaka, IN after a sudden illness.

Bessie was preceded in death by her parents, Glenn Overton and Mary Lee (Bramble) Cottrell; and brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Linda Cottrell.

 Bessie married Norman Harry Merritt in Saint Joseph County, Indiana, September 29, 1951. They shared vows for sixty-fours years before Norman’s passing in 2015.

 Bessie and Norman had two children, Norman Dennis (Mary) Merritt and Kathleen Ann Merritt. They were blessed with four grandchildren: N. Dennis Merritt, Douglas Arthur (Ann) Merritt, Natalie Elizabeth (Christopher) Merritt-Sullivan and Nathan Daniel Merritt. Nathan was a devoted grandson who became her caregiver late in life; Bessie was also blessed with great grandchildren, Aaron Patrick Merritt, Noah Christopher Sullivan, Amelia Bryn Merritt, Ivy Elizabeth Sullivan and Keegan Heath Sullivan; nieces, Charlene (Gale) Cottrell-Lanning, Debbie Cottrell-Metzger, Diana Cottrell and nephew, Andrew Cottrell. 

Bessie's career included Columbia Records, Terre Haute, Indiana; Gimble's Department Store, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; Mary Frank Elementary School, Granger, Indiana; Robertson's Department Store, South Bend, Indiana; L.S. Ayre's Department Store (Macy's), Mishawaka, Indiana, and retired in 2005 as the Furniture Sales Manager. 

Bessie and Norman were childhood friends from Perley Elementary School, through Central High School, both in South Bend, Indiana. Bessie was a devoted military wife from 1951-1973, having moved numerous times with her family including Canada. She embraced life as a christian woman, devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Aunt and friend. 

Her dining room table fed many plentiful home cooked meals and everyone was welcome. Bessie’s greatest attributes were structure, honesty and faithfulness. She will be truly missed and was loved by many. 

The family asks that donations be made to Wreaths Across America for Veteran’s at

A Graveside Service will take place at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park at a later date.

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