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Essie Belcher (1-19-22) service 1-27-22

Essie Faye Belcher, of Mishawaka, Indiana, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Jan. 19, surrounded by her family after battling Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 89 years, 4 months and 14 days.
Essie was born Sept. 5, 1932, in Wayne County, Tennessee to the late J.V. and Edna Perry Frazier, who both preceded her in death.
She was born the sixth child into a family of 12 children. Her dad said they were cheaper by the dozen.
She was also preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Noah Rayford Belcher; her son, Gary Dale Belcher; a daughter-in-law, Michelle Grebe Belcher; five brothers, James Eldridge (Curly), J.W., Ralph, Vernon and Lester Dee Frazier; and three sisters, Beatrice Nix, Bernice Evon Hanson and Emma Lou Myrkle.
She is survived by her daughter, Regina (Robert) Butts, of Mishawaka; one sister, Barbara (Terry) Futrell of Granger, Indiana; two brothers, Jerry Lewis Frazier and Donnie M. Frazier, both of Savannah; five sister-in-laws, Emma Evon Frazier of Savannah, Maudine Clark, Shella Jo Thompson and Linda (Jack) Barron, all from the Indianapolis area, and Juanita Shafer, of South Bend, Indiana; four grandchildren, Jeremy (Trisha) Belcher of South Bend, Alma Caitlin (Brandon) Bridwell of Mishawaka, Essie Briana (Bruce) Webb of Savannah, Michael (Kinzie) Kaczmarek of Mishawaka; and five great-grandchildren, Boston, Vera, Locryn, Daphne and Mateo. Also surviving are lots of cousins and many nieces and nephews, whom she loved dearly.
Essie grew up in the country on a farm in the holler of an area where her family has been for close to 200 years. She was surrounded by all her brothers and sisters and cousins and neighbors and everyone knew each member of their community. You might say they were poor, being as they only received a peppermint stick, an orange and a few nuts in their stocking for Christmas each year, had dresses homemade from flour sacks, only one pair of shoes at the start of the school year, and those were bought from what they made picking and “chopping” cotton. But it was during the depression and everyone was in the same boat, so they really didn’t know they were poor, and what they lacked in material things was made up for with lots of love. She went to a one room schoolhouse at Pinhook and Gillis Mills and her family used an outhouse, cooked on a wood stove and had no electricity until the TVA came through the Tennessee Valley at Pickwick and made that possible. She helped with the canning, quilting, butter making, kraut fermenting, crocheting and gardening. She loved to pick and break green beans and shell peas and even with full blown dementia she was the fastest pea sheller you could imagine. She spoke a lot of her best friend growing up, Bertha Faye Franks, and they still talked up until Bertha Faye passed away.
Essie came to Indiana in 1951. There she met and married Rayford Belcher Dec. 13, 1953, in South Bend. She was a member of the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee and went to Edison Road Church of God, for many years. She was baptized in the Saint Joseph River in the early 1950s, along with her future sister-in-laws, Maudine and Shella Jo Belcher. Essie worked for many years at Miles Laboratories, retiring in 1994. From that time on she was able to devote herself full time to what she most loved; yarn and kids. She loved cheese and Rayford used to tell her she was “part mouse.” Her love of cherry dilly bars, Cheetos, Southern Gospel Music, Werthers and yarn was only topped by her love for her grandchildren. Essie was very timid and non confrontational, unless someone was abusing a child, then she turned into a Tazmanian Devil. She chased a woman who was verbally abusing her child all the way up the escalator at J.C. Penney’s once, yelling in this mother’s face to stop berating her child and to get counseling. She loved to crochet and we are still uncovering stashes of her yarn that she had squirreled away everywhere. She was messy, indecisive, scatterbrained and disorganized, but she was also kind, generous in her giving, loved to make people laugh, had excellent taste in the finer things, big grey eyes and a perfectly beautiful heart-shaped face. She said she wants written on her headstone; “She was a bad housekeeper but a fabulous grandma.” That she was, especially to the two boys she spoiled the most because they were motherless, Jeremy and Michael. They both wrapped themselves around her heart and she never let them go.
She never wanted to be by herself and she loved to talk. She talked all the time (especially during Jeopardy!). It was like Jibberjabber. She even talked in her sleep. Towards the end it was difficult for her to construct a lucid sentence, it was mostly just words put together that were incoherent, but you could tell she had intent with her words and we would listen and respond and she would laugh and we would laugh and she would make silly faces and then we would laugh even more. So we had fun, even up to the end. She especially had fun with her granddaughter who was her namesake, Essie Briana. They were always on the same wavelength to make each other giggle. It is going to be hard to imagine a world without her and if you measure the worth of someone’s life by the good they gave to others, her ripples just keep on going. We’ll meet you on the far-side banks of Jordan, Essie.
Viewing is scheduled this Thursday, Jan. 27, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., with the service starting at 2 p.m. at Palmer Funeral Home, Bubb Chapel, on N. Main Street in Mishawaka, Indiana, with Pastor Kathy Smarella of Vineyard Church officiating. Burial will be at Chapel Hill Cemetery, Osceola, Indiana.
We would like to thank Colin and the Center for Hospice Care for their love and support. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Center for Hospice Care and Ireland Road Church of God would be most appreciated. Online condolences may be shared with Essie’s family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.