Bessie "Bess" Faye Hinton Gerst, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend, went to be with the Lord on Monday, January 2, 2017. Bess was born on May 3, 1924 in Gonzales, Texas to Bella and Claude Hinton.
Upon graduation from Gonzales High School, where Bess was the Salutatorian, she entered The University of Texas at Austin. She graduated in 1947 and began teaching at Brykerwoods Elementary School. She taught second and fifth grade students for six years.
On September 12, 1953, Bess married James "Jim" Oscar Gerst, Jr. at First United Methodist Church in Austin and began a 61-year loving marriage. While living in Cleburne, Texas, Bess and Jim's daughter, Shelley Gerst, was born.
Bess was first and foremost a woman of great faith, loved her family deeply and brought joy and laughter to those around her. She had a servant's heart and was a teacher and friend to countless individuals. She and Jim were always front row at all of their grandchildren's sporting and extracurricular activities. She also loved summer vacations to Rockport, Texas, listening to music, reading, dancing, needle-pointing and spending time with many close friends through her Sewing and Supper Clubs.
Bess was engaged in the Austin community in a variety of ways. She was an active volunteer and served on the boards of The Settlement Club of Austin, Helping Hand Home for Children, The Women's Symphony League and Ballet Austin. Throughout her life she was devoted to working with children. She was a Sunday School teacher in the Methodist church and mentored for The Barbara Jordan Early College Prep School. Bess had a sincere interest in studying the Bible, both through her church and her participation in Community Bible Study.
Bess is survived by her daughter, Shelley Page and her husband Curtis Page; grandchildren Margaret Williams and her husband Matt Williams, Caroline Page and James Page; great-grandchildren Caroline Williams and Ford Williams. She is also survived by her sister, Ruth Randolph, and her niece, Mary Faye Randolph.
Bess is predeceased by her husband; her parents; mother and father-in-law Myrtle and James Oscar Gerst, Sr. and brother-in-law George Randolph.
The family has great appreciation and thanks for the wonderful staff of Westminster Manor, where she lived for the past five years.
A memorial celebration of Bess' life will be held on Friday, January 6 at 2:00 p.m. at Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2601 Exposition Blvd., in Austin.
Those wishing to make memorial gifts may do so to The Settlement Home for Children, 1600 Payton Gin Road, Austin, TX 78758; Helping Hand Home for Children, 3804 Avenue B, Austin, TX 78751 or Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2601 Exposition Blvd., Austin, TX 78703.