Elizabeth May Hamlett, 97, of Sweeny passed away on Thursday, August 31, 2023 at Colonial Living & Rehabilitation of Bay City. She was born on May 25, 1926, in Blue Creek, Texas to John Hamilton Boyd, Sr., and Grace Laura Smith Boyd.
Bess was the second oldest child of seven, and was preceded in death by brothers John, Robert, William, Joseph, and James, and sister, Jane. Bess led a full life in her 97 years. As a child, her parents sent her to live for a year with her Aunt Lola, who was a school teacher in El Campo, so that she would get a good start on her education. Back at home on the farm, she and her sister helped her mother by cooking stewed tomatoes and fried potatoes every Saturday so that they could feed the family and farm hands. She also helped care for all of her younger siblings. Her Aunt Lola took her to the county fair for the first time when she was a teenager. There, Bess ate her first hamburger, and thought it was the best tasting food in the whole world. When she was still in high school, Bess took a train from El Campo up to the Pacific Northwest where cousins on her mother’s side lived. There she volunteered at a port office in Washington state during World War II. After high school, Bess started her college career at Wharton County Junior College and then transferred to Texas Tech University in Lubbock where she received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. While studying for her degree, she took a French class from a handsome professor whom she later dated and then married in 1948. Bess and George Hamlett remained happily married until 1998, when he passed away at the age of 88. They had their first daughter, Suzanne Elizabeth, in 1951, and a second daughter four years later, Cynthia Laura, who passed away soon after birth. After Suzanne Elizabeth was born, Bess and George moved from Lubbock back to her family’s farm in Blue Creek to help with the cattle and the crops. George commuted and took night classes at the University of Houston to get his public school teaching certification, and they then moved to Damon where he taught eighth grade for a few years before being hired by Sweeny ISD. In Sweeny, he taught English and Spanish, first at the junior high and later at Sweeny High School. Bess cared for their daughter as a homemaker during that time, and used her talents with sewing to create beautiful clothes for the family with material that her mother had cross-stitched. In the early 1960s, Bess decided to go back to school to get her teaching certificate. She and some of her friends carpooled to Wharton County Junior College and then the University of Houston to take classes. Once she received her certificate, she taught Social Studies and Geography in Needville, and was then hired by Sweeny to teach fourth grade, where she taught until she retired. Bess loved all of her students equally, and enjoyed teaching immensely. She claimed that the first day of school, as her new students entered the classroom, she could already tell what kind of student each one would be, just by looking at their eyes and their expressions. In the years after she retired, she was always very happy when former students approached her around town to tell her hello and to re-introduce themselves to her. After retirement, Bess enjoyed spending time with her husband, daughter and grand-daughter Rebecca, and later with her great-grandson, Odie. After George passed away, she was able to do some traveling with her remaining family. Probably the most adventurous trip was a road trip from Sweeny all the way down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with her daughter, grand-daughter, and great-grandson, but her favorite trips were to Spain, Italy, France and Switzerland. In Switzerland, she was thrilled to meet George’s family on his mother’s side and to visit his mother’s family home in Lausanne. At home in Sweeny, she stayed busy with family and friends until her health declined in the last few years.
Bess is survived by her daughter, Suzanne Jacobs, her grand-daughter, Rebecca Foote (husband Jonathan), her great-grandson, Odus Phillips III, and her step-great-grandson and daughter, Jordan and Alexis Foote.
Her life will be celebrated with a memorial service officiated by Pastor John Price on Saturday, September 9th, 2 PM, at Dixon Funeral Home in Brazoria, 1211 S Brooks St. Brazoria, TX 77422.
Final arrangements entrusted to Dixon Funeral Home of Brazoria at (979)798-9113.