Bessie Amidon, 90, passed away peacefully in Scottsdale on January 27 after a long struggle with cancer. She was a loving mother, devoted wife, candid grandmother, brilliant pastry chef, avid sports fan, and enthusiastic churchgoer. Her warmth, wisdom and humor touched everyone she knew.
Bessie was born in Detroit on December 4, 1932. Her parents were Greek immigrants, and her childhood spent in a large Greek-American community would play a big role in her life. That said, she had no hesitation venturing out into the larger world when the time came. After a bout with TB that caused her to spend several months in a sanitarium, she became the first person in her family to attend college, at Wayne State University, where she met her future husband, Bill Amidon. Upon graduation, she took a job teaching elementary school in the Detroit system.
After the birth of her first child, she devoted herself to homemaking. She enthusiastically supported Bill in his career as an executive at ITT, accompanying him on a half-dozen corporate transfers with good humor and resourcefulness. She was always there for her children – attending a seemingly infinite number of sports events, concerts, plays, and graduation ceremonies. Her Depression-era upbringing taught her the value of hard work, a lesson she passed along to her children with loving gentleness. Although she wasn’t professionally a teacher for long, she was the best instructor her kids ever knew in their long academic careers. Her strength held the family together after Bill’s death in 2001.
Bessie was something of a legend among her thirteen grandchildren for her mischievous sense of humor and the unfailingly timely arrivals of cash-filled birthday cards. She was a devoted member of Mountainview Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, where she sang beautifully in the choir along with her second husband, Roger, for years. In fact, one of her life’s highpoints was when the choir sang at the Vatican. Her Greek pastries – notably her baklava, paximathia and koulourakia biscuits – were a mainstay of family gatherings.
She is survived by her second husband, Roger Ericson of Scottsdale, and her four children: David Amidon of Newton Highlands MA; Stephen Amidon of Sturbridge MA, Dr. Thomas Amidon of Bellevue WA; and Karen Amidon of Lafayette CO. The holes left in all of their lives by her passing are immense, and yet she also leaves behind enough warmth, love and happy memories to fill them to overflowing.
In lieu of flowers a donation to PEO International, a charity my mom was involved with more many years, or to a charity of their choosing would be appreciated.