Patsy “Pat” Ruth Hesselbein James, 78, went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on April 15, 2022. She was surrounded by her son, Mike, daughter, Shannon, and daughter-in-law, Debi.
Visitation: 6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 21, 2022, at Winscott Road Funeral Home, 1001 Winscott Road, Benbrook, Texas 76126. Funeral Service: 1:00 p.m., Friday, April 22, 2022, at Normandale Baptist Church, 2001 Chapel Creek Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76108.
Patsy was born to Thomas F. and Gladys Kissire Hesselbein in Vallejo, California on May 17, 1943. She had two older sisters, Shirleen, and Christine. The family moved back to Morrilton, Arkansas after the war, to continue farming. They made several moves between Arkansas and Southeast Missouri before settling in Hot Springs in 1953. Patsy became a proud big sis when her brother, Tom was born in 1955. She attended Junior High and High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was a 4-year first chair clarinet player in the Hot Springs High Marching Band and graduated in 1961.
Patsy married her prince charming, Kenneth L. James, on January 19, 1963, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. They celebrated their 59th anniversary this past January. She was blessed with her first child, Michael, in 1964, and worked at National Rejectors in Hot Springs until 1967 when the family relocated to White Settlement, Texas. She was blessed with her second child, Shannon in 1970, and the family was complete. Pat spent her professional career in the insurance industry with Miller Insurance and Houston General Insurance before joining White Settlement ISD in 1990; until her retirement in 2003.
Throughout the years, Pat was known for her home cooking and hospitality. It was not uncommon for a hired plumber or HVAC worker to be sitting at the James’ table having breakfast. If you were friends of Mike and Shannon growing up, at some point Pat would introduce you to her famous Chocolate Gravy. It is an Arkansas original, and one of many recipes she passed down all the way to her great grandkids. When it’s made now it’s called Mamoo’s Chocolate Gravy!
For most kids the approach of summer brought a family vacation to some new location, but for Mike and Shannon it was, “When are we going to Arkansas!” You see, Hot Springs, Arkansas was considered the nucleus of family for Pat. It was HOME where her parents lived. Even one year when the James family broke the norm and visited Houston and Galveston for the first time, the return trip was not a straight line back to White Settlement, but rather a detour through Hot Springs. Ken would say that’s where Pat recharged her battery.
Her brother Tom said about her – She was the remaining Matriarch of the family that kept us connected to the prior generations. She loved the family and keeping up with everyone related especially the kids. Although my sister, she and Ken seemed more like parents to me because of the age difference. Whatever success I’ve had in life I owe greatly to them. She was always there in time of need for everyone in the family. She loved to cook and create traditions that transcended generations: chocolate gravy, briskets, tunnel of fudge cake, butter roll, French onion dip with Mountain Dew on Friday nights while watching the late show and Jello knox blocks for the kids. Most of all she loved life and fought fiercely to be around, if possible, to be a part of family and friends and see what happened next.
For those who knew Pat well knew that she had a fiery personality. She was passionate in her beliefs, a loyal friend and defender of family and HOME. Pat should have written a book on how to return merchandise for a full refund – even if the return date had expired. Her mentoring was passed down to her daughter, Shannon, daughter-in-law, Debi and granddaughter, Amanda. Pat was also viewed within the family as the perfect advocate when anyone was in the hospital, rehab, or any associated medical care. She had a canny way of holding people accountable and persuading others to improve the care provided.
Pat was a member of Normandale Baptist Church for over 45 years, she cherished her church family and especially her Sunday school class and Keno group fellowships.
The family, on behalf of Pat, would like to give special thanks to some of the wonderful medical professionals who cared for her during her battle with Cancer and in her final days. In Pat’s eyes, Dr. Asad Dean, Oncologist, was an angel - extending her quality of life and eventual elimination of her tumor. Dr. Dean made countless off duty visits and returned phone calls to Pat throughout her 13- year battle. A special heart felt thank you to the staff at Harris Methodist Hospital in downtown Fort Worth. The James family has some first names of those angels, but as a way not to leave anyone out, would like to recognize them by department and those from other departments that supported. Thanks to the staff in the ER, third & sixth floor Harris tower, and first floor of the Heart Center. All those who cared for Pat are viewed as exemplary in care, compassion, attentiveness, and faith.
Pat was preceded in death by her father, Thomas F. and mother, Gladys Kissire Hesselbein; sister, Shirleen, and her husband, Don Eslick; sister, Christine, and her husband, Dr. Richard Adler.
Survivors: Husband, Kenneth L. James; brother, Tom and wife, April Hesselbein of Little Rock, Arkansas; son, Mike and wife, Debi James of Fort Worth; daughter, Shannon and husband, Kevin Craft of Allen; grandson, Mike and wife, Amber James of Weatherford; granddaughter, Amanda and husband, Neil Mellers of Gravette, Arkansas; great- grandchildren, Mackenzie, Maddux, Livi Cay, Celia, Quinn, and C.J.; and many nieces, nephews, family friends, and church family.
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