Born in 1905, Richardson dies at 108

by W. Winston Skinner

Bessie Eudora Dooley Richardson, 108, who had lived in Newnan since 1995, died Friday in Atlanta. 

Richardson, who was a telephone operator before spending years as a farm wife in Tennessee, died at Serenity Hospice. A native of Maury County, Tennessee, Richardson was born Oct. 16, 1905, to Charlie Irving Dooley and Frances Luella Scott Dooley. She had outlived all nine of her siblings.

She married Joel Davidson Richardson on Christmas Eve in 1924. They lived for years on a farm in the Bigbyville community in Maury County. Later the Richardsons moved to Columbia, Tenn.

In both places, Bessie Richardson was known for the beautiful flowers she grew.

Richardson moved to Coweta County to live near her daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Al Kennedy, in 1995. Before moving to Newnan, Richardson was still mowing her own lawn and gardening at age 85 and driving at 90.

For the past 13 years, she had lived in Newnan at Emeritus, previously Georgian Place, retirement home. Richardson enjoyed word-solving and crossword puzzles, Bingo and reading. She also was a lifelong consumer of vegetables.

Richardson was a member of the Newnan Church of Christ. Prior to moving to the local area, she had been a member — for more than 55 years — at West 7th Street Church of Christ in Columbia, Tenn. Bible classes for women in both places were important to her.

Richardson was a woman of strong faith. In 2011, she said she did not know what she has done to deserve such a long life, but added, “The Lord does."

In that interview, Richardson said she did know the secret to life. "I've tried to live by the Bible," she reflected — adding that her advice to young people for a long, happy life was simply “prayer.”

She is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Her family was central to her life. "I still feel like someone's mother," Richardson said in 2011.

A treasured possession was a photograph of Richardson at 103 with a newborn great-grandchild.

A graveside service was held in Columbia on Monday, and a memorial service followed Tuesday at Newnan Church of Christ . Her family has asked that memorial contributions go to Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort,

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