Mrs. Mary Elizabeth “Bess” Ross Speer: April 7, 2020

Published 9:06 am Thursday, April 9, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Mrs. Mary Elizabeth “Bess” Ross Speer, age 92, passed away on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at Perfect Care.

A private committal service will be held with Dr. Bryan Myers officiating.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, a celebration of life will be held at a later date.

She was born July 6, 1927 in Schley County, a daughter of the late James H. Ross, Jr. and the late Mattie Will Powell Ross McLeod.

A longtime member of Central Baptist Church, Mrs. Speer was retired from Sumter Regional Hospital where she was employed for many years as a Registered Nurse. She was a former member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Railroad, Firemen & Engineers; of the B.P.W. Club, of Beta Sigma Phi; and of the 12th District Nursing Association. She was a graduate of Macon Hospital School of Nursing, where she was a member of the Cadet Nursing Corps for three years during World War II.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Charles R. “Charlie” Speer; and by her sister and brother-in-law, Martha Norton and F.D. “Square” Norton.

Survivors include two sons: Charles Russell Speer, Jr. (Judy) of East Bernstadt, KY and James Thompson Speer of Americus; two granddaughters: Kimberly “Charley” Speer (Michael) of Marble, CO and Stacey Elizabeth Speer Smithley (Steve) of Yorktown, VA; two great-granddaughters: Cassie Smithley and Brooke Smithley; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

To sign our online guestbook and express your condolences to the family, please visit

Hancock Funeral Home, 427 S. Lee St., is honored to be entrusted with these arrangements for Mrs. Mary Elizabeth “Bess” Ross Speer.