Bessie ‘Bess’ Francis Stineman Kruse: May 28, 1943 – Feb. 19, 2021



Bessie “Bess” Francis Stineman Kruse, of Whidbey Island, Wash., passed away Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.

Born on May 28, 1943 in Sulligent, Ala. Bess was the youngest child and only daughter to the late William Sr. and Inor Suggs.

Bess attended Francis T. Nicholls H.S. in New Orleans and considered New Orleans her hometown for the remainder of her well-traveled life. It is the city where she met and married her husband, James “Jim” Scott Stineman, on Dec. 15, 1962. She was a devoted wife, and they remained married until his death in 2014.

Bess loved to travel and made her home in over a dozen states in the course of her lifetime. She lived in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Missouri, just to name a few.

Bess had the spirit of an adventurer; while living in Southern California she racked up significant flying hours in just a few weeks; setting a record at that time for receiving her private pilot’s license. She joined an aviation club called “The Jet-Less Set” in which she piloted Cessna aircraft and would participate in short-run races up the California coast.

While living in Oregon, she furthered her education at Chemeketa Community College, where she studied programming.

Bess never settled for a single career path but chose instead to follow her varied interests. Notable occupations that she held were an intake specialist in the E.R. of a hospital and as a real estate broker.

Of the many jobs she held, Bess considered being a wife and a mom to her three daughters her primary occupation. She especially enjoyed gardening and making her family-famous peanut brittle.

A Southern girl at heart, she was known for her snappy sense of humor and incredible smile. Bess truly enjoyed people from all walks of life and easily gathered friends wherever she went.

Bess remarried on Jan. 14, 2018 to Henry “Hank” Kruse and lived a happy life in Coupeville, Wash.

She enjoyed playing cards, working in the garden and spending time with Hank.

Bess is survived by her husband Hank; brothers Bobby Suggs and his wife Mary and William Suggs Jr. and his wife Betty; three daughters, Pippa McCurry and her husband Dan, Tecla Tesnau and her husband Kurt and Rahel Cook and her husband Blaine. She also leaves behind six grandchildren, Chad, Brandon, Tobias, Zira, Milo and Ptolemy, as well as numerous loving relatives and friends.

A virtual memorial service will be held on March 20, 2021. Email for additional information.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks to consider making a donation to the American Heart Association at

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