Bessie Ann Gaskins Baltimore age 92, passed away peacefully in the Winchester Medical Center South Tower on August 2, 2021, at 11:15 p.m. with her loving family by her side.
Bessie was born March 18, 1929, in Markham, Virginia in Fauquier County. She was the youngest daughter and the eighth child of the late William Peyton and Leona Magnus Gaskins. After the early death of her parents, her siblings raised her in a loving and caring way.
Bessie attended Fenny Hill Elementary School in Scuffleburg where her teacher was Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskins and Delaplane Elementary School where her teacher was Mr. E. K. Washington in Fauquier County. Some of her schoolmates are Mrs. Susie Penic, Mrs. Ruth Thornley, Mrs. Dot Townley and Mr. Benny Williams. She graduated from The Manassas Industrial School, Regional High School of Northern Virginia (Jennie Dean) on May 30, 1946. She also attended the Marshall Bible College Evangelical Training Association from 2003 to 2008 under the leadership of Dr. William Swann.
On July 20, 1947, she married Clyde E. Baltimore. From this union they had two daughters Barbara Ann Baltimore Richmond and Claudia Virginia Baltimore Grant.
Bessie was employed with the United States Postal Service for many years. She always thanked her brother Louis for telling her to go take the postal test, in which she passed successfully. Mama kept in touch with six friends from the USPS. They are Mr. Melvin Carter, Mrs. Sandra Corum, Mrs. Margie Duncan, Mr. Ed Hansborough, Ms. Judy Lane, and Mr. Leroy Weaver.
She began her Christian journey earlier in life by joining the Beulah Baptist Church in Markham under the leadership of the late Rev. Nathan Johnson. Later, she joined the Mount Paran Baptist Church in Linden, Virginia under the leadership of the late Rev. J. P. Baltimore, where she was a faithful member for 74 years. Bessie served with the Trustee Ministry, Usher Ministry, in which she was a charter member since 1953. She also sang with the combined choir when traveling to different churches, served as the secretary of the Deacon and Deaconess Ministry, and with the Culinary Ministry.
Bessie enjoyed fellowshipping and worshipping with her Mt. Paran Baptist Church Family. She and her two daughters would travel near and far to worship and praise the Lord.
Bessie was very much involved in the Second National Ketoctan Baptist Association. She was a Trustee of Second National and served as Treasurer of Women’s Auxiliary, and the Usher Ministry. Under the leadership of Rev. Arthur Greene, Bessie was honored as a Platinum Member for her dedicated service since August of 1947.
Bessie’s favorite scripture was Psalms 27 (Help for today, Hope for tomorrow). Two of her favorite hymns were On the Battlefield and My Father Watches Over Me.
She was a member of the AAHA Quilters where she went along with her sister-in-law Sylvia Gaskins. They made many quilts and taught others how to quilt. One quilt hangs in the Nissan Pavilion in Haymarket, Virginia. She had so much fun being with the ladies when they got together to make quilts. They gave away hundreds of quilts to family and friends and sold many to raise money for AAHA.
She would always be ready to play any kind of games with her family and friends. Her great-grandchildren loved it! She loved the Lord and knew her Bible. She would often play Bible Trivia with her family at the house. She would say, let me think a minute, and then pull the answer out of nowhere. She loved being in the kitchen with the daughters cooking, baking, and making potato salad.
One of the last things Mama did was read Don Lemon’s book, This is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism. This was an important book given the times in which she faced racism as a young girl and as an adult. She shared those experiences with her daughters and reflected upon the continued challenges today.
Bessie enjoyed getting dressed up with her nice shoes, dresses, jewelry, and purses. Her daughters enjoyed shopping for her and taking care of whatever, she needed. They loved their mother.
Mama Bessie loved her family. She was a great supporter and encourager in always supporting her daughters at the plays, gospel concerts, class reunions at William C. Taylor High School, church banquets, anniversaries, programs, and worship services. She kept up with her grandsons, their wives, great grandsons, and a great granddaughter by attending their activities, as her health allowed.
She was always ready to take a trip; it could be one day, two days, or more. She enjoyed being in the moment.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her siblings: Dorothy Proctor, William P. Sr., Thomas B., Walter S., Aaron C., Joseph L., and Louis N. Gaskins. Her closest friends: Mrs. Sylvia Gaskins, Mrs. Helen McLee, Mrs. Mary Timbers, and Mrs. Pauline Upshur all preceded her in death.
She is survived by her daughters: Barbara Richmond (Harry) and Claudia Grant of Linden, Virginia; her grandsons, Oscar D. Grant, III (Erayna) of Bowie, MD and Christopher M. Grant, Sr. (Tonya) of York, PA; great grandsons, Christopher M. Jr., Jalen D., Timothy M., Kyle W., Shane C. Grant, and Gregory Davis (Marlissa) of York, PA and great granddaughter Shavon Davis of York, PA; great-great granddaughters Sophia, Izabella, and Kaydence; two sisters-in-laws and friends, Mrs. Lillian B. Sloane and Mrs. Mildred F. Gaskins; adopted spiritual daughter Minister Marian Jackson, adopted spiritual son Rev. Lemuel Montgomery (Madelyn); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
During her last days in the hospital, a chaplain visited her room. He talked with her about her days growing up and that he suspected she faced many difficulties in her life. He said he could feel the love in the room and the love between her and her family. After he left, she asked her daughter, “Am I a good soldier?” The reply was instant, “Yes, Mama, you are a good soldier!”
From Barbara and Claudia: Bessie Ann Gaskins Baltimore, a modern-day woman, was the best mother in the whole wide world to us. Mama we love you, but God loved you more.
A big thank you goes to her son-in-law, Harry, for always being ready to give her something to drink or get her a snack. They would talk about any and everything especially current events.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, August 12, 2021, from 11 am until 12 pm with funeral services starting at 12 pm at Faith Christian Church, 6472 Duhollow Road, Warrenton, VA, 20187.
Services will be streamed live at https://www.gotfaithnow.org/watch-live
Interment will be in Mt. Morris Community Cemetery, Hume, VA.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bessie Ann (Gaskins) Baltimore, please visit our floral store.