DARKE COUNTY — The oldest living direct relative of famed sharpshooter Annie Oakley has died.
Bessie Lee Moses Edwards, of Royal Oak, Michigan, passed away Feb. 18. She was 95 years old.
Edwards was a great grand niece of Oakley (born Phoebe Ann Mosey). She was the granddaughter of Oakley’s brother, John Mosey (both later changed their surname to “Moses”).
According to her obituary, Edwards was a 13-year resident of Greenville, Ohio, and spent much of her time researching Oakley’s life and clarifying misinformation regarding her.
Edwards formed the Annie Oakley Foundation in 1982. In this capacity, she traveled throughout Ohio speaking to school children about her famous relative.
She also was a contributor to the Annie Oakley Center Foundation, a separate organization affiliated with the Garst Museum in Greenville.
Eileen Litchfield, chair of the Annie Oakley Center Foundation, called Edwards “tenacious and tireless.”
“She was quite a character,” said Litchfield. “She was very active in making sure the correct memory of Annie Oakley was recognized, presenting the accurate story, not just the legend.”
Edwards worked in a variety of careers including apparel retail, real estate and was one of the first women in Michigan to work as a salesperson selling new cars. She ended her professional career as an executive secretary at General Motors.
She was born in McCurtain, Oklahoma, Jan. 11, 1922, to Gladys and Lee Moses. She was the mother of Janet Lee (John) Bailey and sister to the late Gwendolyn, Delores and Chelsey Glen. Edwards is survived by many nieces, nephews, step-grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
A funeral service for Edwards was held Thursday in Royal Oak.
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