Nov. 19, 1925 – March 18, 2014
Bessie Baird Zeller, 88, died March 18, 2014, at her home east of Lovell. She was born Nov. 19, 1925, in Cowley, to Everett and Susie Marie Bassett Baird and was the sixth of 10 children. She grew up in Cowley, where she attended school and graduated as valedictorian of her class.
Bessie married Clarence B. Zeller on Nov. 10, 1943, in the Salt Lake Temple. They lived in Cowley for a while and then built a one-room log cabin down on the farm nine miles east of Lovell. Clarence had purchased his father’s bees, and they worked the bees from then on. They eventually built another home and remained there the rest of their lives. Clarence died in 2007 after nearly 64 years of marriage, leaving Bessie with a large hole in her heart that she was never able to fill.
Clarence and Bessie had six children. They taught their family the value of hard work and patience as they all grew up doing farm work and learning the bee business. Bessie enjoyed raising her family, raising a big garden, as well as serving and helping others. For years they planted thousands of tomato and cantaloupe plants and sold the produce. She was also known for sharing much of what she raised with those around her, always happy to help someone else.
Bessie was a very active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having callings in every organization. She and Clarence spent many years as dance instructors for the youth of the church and took them to Salt Lake City for the All-Church Dance Festival several times. She loved her Savior and made Him first in every aspect of her life. She was and will always be a great example for all her posterity.
Bessie worked at Valley Motor Supply for one year and then as secretary for the Selective Service from 1960-1973. In 1976, Bessie and Clarence founded Queen Bee Gardens, a honey candy manufacturing company. They enjoyed traveling to numerous cities selling “the world’s finest candy” at trade shows. Bessie developed all the honey candy recipes that they manufactured. They received countless awards for their unique confections, and in 2011 she was presented with the Lovell Area Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Trailblazer Award.
Bessie produced a cookbook, “Cooking With Honey, Nature’s Magic,” consisting mostly of recipes that she developed from scratch. Bessie also loved doing the office work for Queen Bee Gardens, where she remained an active partner until her death. For the last 14 years, she was assisted in this capacity by Peggy Fowler, who started out working as a secretary but became a devoted friend.
Bessie is survived by her six children and their spouses: Mitchel (Jane) Zeller of Aloha, Ore., Von (Pam) Zeller of Lovell, Annella (Tom) Prosser of Lovell, JoAnn (Paul) Schueler of Cheyenne, Gene (Virginia) Zeller of Lovell and Sidney (Laurence) Pitt of Colstrip, Mont.
Also surviving are Helen and John Dickson (sister) of Arlington, Wash., Flora Miller (sister) of Fallon, Nev., Rhea Willie (sister) of Orem, Utah, Alice and Ron Brownell (sister) of Enumclaw, Wash, Frank and Georgia Baird (brother) of North Edwards, Calif., as well as Don Zeller (brother-in-law) of Erda, Utah, and Eldon and Nina Zeller (brother-in-law) of Orem, Utah. She has been blessed with 27 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held on Monday, March 24, at the Lovell LDS Stake Center. Burial was in the Lovell Cemetery.