Mt. Vernon Register-News


April 3, 2014

Dessie Harrelson

Dessie Dora Harrelson, 100, of McLeansboro, passed away at 10:40 a.m., Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at Hamilton Memorial Nursing Home, McLeansboro.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Harre Funeral Home in McLeansboro with a one hour visitation at 10 a.m. prior to service at 11 a.m.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Harre Funeral Home. Internment will be in the Ten Mile Church Cemetery near McLeansboro.

Mrs. Harrelson was born March 30, 1914, in Hamilton County, a daughter of Wilford A. and Daisy Dean (Randolph) Hunt. She was a member of the Marrantha Baptist Church of Waynesville, Mo. where her beloved friends Pastor Keith and Cheryn Carnahan serve. Dessie was married Jan. 9, 1932, to Ralph Sylvanus Harrelson, M.G. in the home of the groom’s parents Edgar and Mary Lue (Bennett) Harrelson in Hamilton County by Elder Bird Weasel.

Mrs. Harrelson worked as a seamstress for thirty years at the Elder Manufacturing Co. in McLeansboro. She was an avid member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) at Valley Forge. Researching and writing local history and genealogy were major vocations of the Harrelsons and their contributions of service and publications on those subjects are widely recognized. Also, their skilled handcraft in quilting, manufacture of musical instruments and wood-crafting was broadly admired. Dessie was a musician that played the dulcimer and organ and with accompaniment of her husband entertained widely with rendition of gospel songs.

Dessie was preceded in death by her husband; their son, James Dewight Harrelson (wife Julie Simmerly) of Springfield, Mo.; four brothers and one sister, Heilman “Jack” Hilary Hunt (wife Ruth Ann Hollingsworth) of Decatur, Owen Wilford Hunt (wife Mattie Mead) of Mt. Vernon, Lillian Opal Hayse (husband McKinley Hobart Hayse) of Mt. Vernon, Ralph Wallace Hunt (wife Jean Sweeny) of Santa Maria, Calif. and Archie Kenneth Hunt of McLeansboro; and grandchild, Jay Dwight (Harrelson) Benitez of El Paso, Texas.

She is survived by three grandchildren, Becki Jayne Harrelson of Atlanta, Ga., LuAnn Bott (husband Greg) of St. Louis and Stacey Dynelle Altavilla (husband Joe) of Rincon, Ga.; several great-grandchildren; twenty-seven nieces and nephews; and numerous great nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hamilton County Historical Society to support preservation and accessibility of the Harrelson’s personal library of historical and genealogy information.

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