Bessie Klumpp Montgomery
April 8, 1921 - Oct. 21, 2017
Pioneering Fairhope businesswoman, Bessie Klumpp Montgomery, passed away Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at the age of 96. She was best known for founding the Fairhope French Quarter and Town and Country Shops.
Bessie was born on her family's small farm in Point Clear, Alabama on April 8, 1921. Always beautiful and outgoing, Bessie was selected 1937 Baldwin County Harvest Queen and May Queen in 1938.
She began her retail career as a teenager at the local 5 & 10 cent store. Bessie was an excellent student, graduating from Fairhope High School in 1939. Three years later, she started the downtown clothing store that would become Town & Country Shops.
In 1994, she created the Fairhope French Quarter as an inexpensive location for new merchants to start their businesses. She continued her community involvement as director of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce from 2003 until 2005.
After 74 years in business, Bessie retired, devoting herself to her 1984 Snapper riding mower, tending her beautiful flowers and traversing her property on her golf cart.
Bessie was a loving, giving person, who just made people feel good. Many customers would come great distances, year after year, to shop at Bessie's, and her store was a gathering place for locals. She left a legacy of dedication and hard work, which she instilled in those who knew her.
Bessie was preceded in death by her parents, Godfrey Francis Klumpp and Mary L. Mannich; and her sisters, Hazel Euler and Alice Linville.
She is survived by her niece, Allison Linville (Richard) Brunson; and nephews, Lyle William (Joni) Euler Jr., John Linville Brunson, Warren Fox Brunson, Benjamin Rousselle Brunson and William Dane Brunson. She also leaves behind other relatives, friends, tenants and customers, who considered her family.
Bessie Montgomery will be greatly missed.
At Bessie's request, a celebration of her life will be held in the Fairhope French Quarter in April 2018.
In recent years, Bessie was proud to support the Fairhope High School Band, of which her nephews have been a part. She witnessed how it has enriched their lives and the Fairhope community as a whole. With this in mind, the family requests that memorial gifts be sent to the Fairhope High School Band, c/o Fairhope High School, One Pirate Drive, Fairhope, AL 36532.