Mr. Bess, son of the late Joda William and Mary Margaret (Smith) Bess, was born April 30, 1929, in Poplar Bluff. He was a member of the New Life Christian Church United. Mr. Bess served in the United States Navy from 1950 to 1954.
Owner and operator of Bess Wholesale Beer Distributors, in Poplar Bluff, Mr. Bess was also a member of the Eagles National Beer and State Wholesale Association as well as the N.A.W.D. He was a member of the Missouri Merchants and Manufacturers Association; a member of the Poplar Bluff, Missouri and United States Chamber of Commerce; and a member of the American Legion, AMVETS, Elks Lodge and Eagles Lodge. In 1986, he was selected by then Congressman Bill Emerson to the White House Conference on Small Businesses; and in 1995 was selected as Poplar Bluff Citizen of the Year.
Survivors include five children, William H. Bess II, and Jane Ellen Bess, both of Jackson, Mo., Kelley Lee Innes and husband Mike, of Poplar Bluff, Margaret Ann Guettermann and husband David, of Millersville, Mo., and James Kinder and wife Kimberly, of St. Louis, Mo.; five grandchildren, Ryan Harkey, Logan Harkey, Joshua Guettermann, Derrick Innes and Stephanie Innes; a great-grandson, Robert Innes; a sister, Nancy Diane Sites, of Blackwater, Mo.; and a brother, Joda Lee Bess, of Cape Girardeau, Mo.
A sister, Betty Joyce Dengler also preceded Mr. Bess in death.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m., today, Tuesday, at the First Christian Church, 1601 North Main St., in Poplar Bluff with the Rev. Morris Ball officiating and the Rev. Jim Hoyt assisting.
Burial with military honors presented by the Missouri Military Funeral Honors Team and Friends of the National Riffle Association will be at Memorial Gardens Cemetery, in Poplar Bluff.
Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.cotrellfuneralservice.com.