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Celebrating the life of
Lilla Pearle Bessonette Barnes
Passed away on March 26, 2016
Services under the direction of:
Bradshaw Carter
(713) 521-0066
  • Memorial Service
  • 3:00pm - Monday, April 11, 2016
  • First United Methodist Church
  • 205 E. 3rd Avenue (Map)
    Belton, Texas 76513

One of the most wonderful, talented, animated and fun-loving people I have ever known. I went to church at 1st United Methodist in Belton, TX with Lilla and Joe. She was also my 9th grade physical science teacher at Belton High School. She love to teach and her class was never boring. Kite day was a special delight and a very fond memory. She also introduced me to the world of theater at Temple Civic Theater in Temple, TX. After choir practice on a Wednesday night, she took me to the auditions for "The Fantasticks" at TCT with Joanne Muchmore, Sam Farrow, Michael Fox, Wayne Bacus, and Anne Chamlee. I got the part of Luisa and it was wonderful. Without Mrs. Barnes I would have never discovered this world. She believed in me and gave me the push and belief in myself that I needed. I will miss you Mrs. Barnes, you were my inspiration in so many aspects of my life.

Patricia Bridges Simmons, Aberdeen, SD

When I taught at UMHB, I founded a creative writing group for the community. Lilla came. The group did not last long, but Lilla and I continued to be friends for years. Many people used the word "feisty" when they describe Lilla, and she was the epitome of that word. Her spirit will live on in the memories of those who love and admire her. A person could not help but see how determined she was to do what she saw needed to be done. Love and peace to you, Lilla, my friend.

Donna Walker-Nixon, Temple, TX

I met Lilla Barnes in Lockhart Texas for the 1966-67 School year because Joelle(Joey) was in my class....Joey and I became best friends and Lilla became my second Mom....We had many great times at the Barnes household and on a few trips we took together...to Georgetown, Belton and to the coast....Lilla was the one whom I asked to take my wedding pictures and what a great job she did....I will cherish those times spent in the living room of the Barnes house sitting at the player piano listening to the music....making and eating homemade peach ice cream in the backyard....May you and Joe have many fishing trips in Heaven....I know that with Joe by your side you will watch over my best friend....RIP Lilla, no pain, no sadness, only love ...Until we all meet again... Jan

Jan Barrow, Tomball, Texas

A long life, well-lived. Can't ask for more than that.

Sandy Bailey, Humacao, PR

What a lovely tribute to an amazing, feisty lady. She was beautiful inside and out and is so missed st the Meridian. We are all better because of our good luck to have have known Lilla. Love and prayers to all.

Beverky Huntsman, Temple , Tx

I think I would have enjoyed hanging out with Lilla Pearle! I'm sure her feistiness and sweet determination will be greatly missed.

Carol Eix, Austin, TX

I have many fond memories of "Miss Lilla". One of my favorite times was when we appeared together in "That is Quite Enough" at Temple Civic Theatre. It was her 2nd time to appear in the play. While the rest of us were struggling to learn lines, Miss Lilla knew hers and knew how to get the laughs. Charles and I adored her and want the family to know how much we admired this sweet, funny, and talented lady.

Jan & Charles Hart, Temple, TX

Lilla Pearle Bessonette Barnes was born on December 4, 1916 in Waco TX to Van
Kincannon and Lyda Lilla Bertrand Bessonette. She passed away on March 26, 2016 in
Houston TX at the age of 99.
Lilla grew up as a precocious child surrounded by loving parents and grandparents in
Waco until her family moved to San Antonio when she was 15. She graduated from
Thomas Jefferson High School and Westmorland College (now Trinity University) before
attending Southwestern University, Georgetown TX, where she graduated with honors
in 1937, majoring in chemistry. She was the first female cheerleader at SU, albeit an
honorary one, and was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. On her first day at
Southwestern, she had a blind date with Joe Barnes, whom she would later marry on
February 6, 1937 after both had graduated.
Following their marriage, Joe and Lilla lived and taught at Academy/Little River and then
in San Augustine TX. During World War II while Joe served in the Navy, they lived in
Great Lakes IL, Philadelphia PA (Lilla worked in a chemical laboratory) and Gulfport MS.
Following the war, they settled in San Antonio and their first daughter, Bettie, was born.
The family moved to Georgetown TX where their second daughter, Joelle, was born.
Joe and Lilla also lived and worked as educators in Aransas Pass, Lockhart and Belton.
Lilla taught junior high and high school physical science, biology and chemistry,
sponsored many extracurricular activities and never missed an opportunity to take the
stage at a school assembly.
Retirement found Joe and Lilla on the road for extended camping trips to Alaska,
northern Canada and the western USA with their good friends John and Kitzy Rodgers
and Jack and Jessie Giesecke. They also enjoyed fishing expeditions with longtime
friends Tom and Odessa Lovelace. And many a day was spent working the pecan crops
alongside the Lovelaces.
After Joe’s death in 2003, Lilla moved to the Meridian in Temple TX where she resided
until January 2016 when she moved to Houston. At the Meridian, Lilla made many
lasting and close friendships, and found true sisterhood with Rose Anne Brasher.
As a writer, artist, actor, and community volunteer, she won many awards and
accolades for her writing and energy. She volunteered with incarcerated juveniles in Bell
County, was the Story Lady at the library summer reading program, volunteered at the
Methodist Church, and was an integral part at both Temple Civic Theatre and Living
Room Theatre for many years. And she loved a good pun. Or two.
She is survived by her daughters and their husbands, Bettie and Jim Liebzeit and Joelle
and Alan Foley, and her granddaughter and her husband, Amanda and Richard Bird.
Without question, Amanda was the love of her life. She is also survived by nieces and
nephews of both the Barnes and Bessonette families. Lilla’s husband, Joseph Cullen
Barnes, preceded her in death on April 1, 2003. She was also predeceased by her
parents and her brother, William Van Bessonette.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, April 11, 2016 at 3:00pm at the First United
Methodist Church, Belton TX, with a reception following.
Lilla’s family thanks the staff and residents at the Meridian for the years she enjoyed as
an active member of the community. Her last two months were spent with loving,
compassionate and devoted care at Belmont Village West University in Houston TX.
In lieu of flowers and to honor Lilla’s lifelong love of science, nature and birds, please
consider a memorial gift to the Twin Lakes Audubon Society, PO Box 1623, Belton TX
76513 or to Southwestern University, 1001 E. University Ave., Georgetown TX 78626
attn: Cullie Hamilton.

SHARE YOUR CONDOLENCES

  

GUEST BOOK

Candle tribute lit by Patricia Bridges Simmons — South Dakota

One of the most wonderful, talented, animated and fun-loving people I have ever known. I went to church at 1st United Methodist in Belton, TX with Lilla and Joe. She was also my 9th grade physical science teacher at Belton High School. She love to teach and her class was never boring. Kite day was a special delight and a very fond memory. She also introduced me to the world of theater at Temple Civic Theater in Temple, TX. After choir practice on a Wednesday night, she took me to the auditions for "The Fantasticks" at TCT with Joanne Muchmore, Sam Farrow, Michael Fox, Wayne Bacus, and Anne Chamlee. I got the part of Luisa and it was wonderful. Without Mrs. Barnes I would have never discovered this world. She believed in me and gave me the push and belief in myself that I needed. I will miss you Mrs. Barnes, you were my inspiration in so many aspects of my life.

Patricia Bridges Simmons, Aberdeen, SD

When I taught at UMHB, I founded a creative writing group for the community. Lilla came. The group did not last long, but Lilla and I continued to be friends for years. Many people used the word "feisty" when they describe Lilla, and she was the epitome of that word. Her spirit will live on in the memories of those who love and admire her. A person could not help but see how determined she was to do what she saw needed to be done. Love and peace to you, Lilla, my friend.

Donna Walker-Nixon, Temple, TX

Candle tribute lit by Diane Falkenhagen — Texas

I met Lilla Barnes in Lockhart Texas for the 1966-67 School year because Joelle(Joey) was in my class....Joey and I became best friends and Lilla became my second Mom....We had many great times at the Barnes household and on a few trips we took together...to Georgetown, Belton and to the coast....Lilla was the one whom I asked to take my wedding pictures and what a great job she did....I will cherish those times spent in the living room of the Barnes house sitting at the player piano listening to the music....making and eating homemade peach ice cream in the backyard....May you and Joe have many fishing trips in Heaven....I know that with Joe by your side you will watch over my best friend....RIP Lilla, no pain, no sadness, only love ...Until we all meet again... Jan

Jan Barrow, Tomball, Texas

A long life, well-lived. Can't ask for more than that.

Sandy Bailey, Humacao, PR

Candle tribute lit by Elizabeth LaPrairie — Texas

Candle tribute lit by Billy — Texas

What a lovely tribute to an amazing, feisty lady. She was beautiful inside and out and is so missed st the Meridian. We are all better because of our good luck to have have known Lilla. Love and prayers to all.

Beverky Huntsman, Temple , Tx

I think I would have enjoyed hanging out with Lilla Pearle! I'm sure her feistiness and sweet determination will be greatly missed.

Carol Eix, Austin, TX

I have many fond memories of "Miss Lilla". One of my favorite times was when we appeared together in "That is Quite Enough" at Temple Civic Theatre. It was her 2nd time to appear in the play. While the rest of us were struggling to learn lines, Miss Lilla knew hers and knew how to get the laughs. Charles and I adored her and want the family to know how much we admired this sweet, funny, and talented lady.

Jan & Charles Hart, Temple, TX


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