Mrs. Bessie Speaks Shands was born May 15, 1933 to Jim and Ella Rainey Speaks in Laurens County, South Carolina.
She attended the public schools of Laurens County, South Carolina.
She was a member of Springfield Missionary Baptist Church in Laurens, South Carolina where she was the Oldest Active Member, a member of the Pastors Aide, and the Womens Homemade Society. She was also a faithful member of the Music Ministry Fellowship Choir and the Faith in Christ Singers.
She was the "Neighborhood Grandmother" - making sure that the kids got to the bus safely.
Mrs. Bessie received a letter of acknowledgment from Governor Henry McMasters and Senator Lindsey Graham on her 90th birthday.
Mrs. Shands departed this life on Sunday, August 13, 2023, at Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital in Clinton, South Carolina at the graceful age of ninety.
Her loving memories will be forever cherished by her nine children: Willie Leake, Jessie (Sandra) Leake, Bennie (Helen) Young, Johnnie Mae (Charles) Coleman, Betty (James) Johnson, Uzella (Thomas) Sims, Mary Burton, Patricia Briggs, Katherine Bluford, Bertha (Ralph) Suber, and Teresa Butler; stepchildren: Joe (Bertha) Lyon, Dogan (Rosa) Shands, Ellis Shands, Wayne Shands, Mattie Pearl DemBramaletta, Ann (Eric) Williams, Vicki (Jessie) Crawford, Doris Fuller, Casey Mae Campbell, and Lessie Ross; twenty-seven grandchildren; sixty-six great-grandchildren; twenty-eight great great- grandchildren; a special friend: William Boyd and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.