Nathaniel Bess, the son of the late Eugene and Lauretta Smalls Bess, was born on Jan. 15, 1945, in Huger, S.C. “Na or Nate” as he is affectionately called by many, was educated in the public schools of Berkeley County where he attended Cainhoy School in Huger.
Bess was born with a speech impediment, and he went to dialysis three times a week for the last 25 years, but he did not ever allow those obstacles to deter him from what he wanted to do or say.
After the death of his mother, his brother John and his wife Shirley became his caretakers making sure that his needs were met. A few years ago his sister Theresa relocated from New York and she became his caretaker, with the assistance of their cousin Christine.
At a very young age, Bess was not only very active with his family but active in his community as well. As many Cainhoy School students went through the lunch line on a daily basis, many of them would share smiles and laughter with Bess as he worked to support the cafeteria and custodial staff where needed.
Bess also worked at Johnson’s store, a historic store in the Huger area, helping the customers. He loved people and treated everyone with respect. He joined the New Hope United Methodist Church at an early age and served faithfully on the Usher Board. He was always willing to serve in any capacity when asked. Although he was dedicated to his home church, Bess was also well-known at many other churches because of his close relationship with his God. The way he lived his life spoke volumes at his Home Going Service.
The Pastor, Rev. Shawn V. Chestnut of New Hope United Methodist Church, read the scripture: Psalm 84. She used as a subject, “I Had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God." As she expounded on what it means to be a doorkeeper it exemplified the life of “Na.” On a Sunday afternoon one would see “Na” standing on Hwy. 41, Cainhoy Rd., Charity Church Rd., or Steed Creek Rd. trying to catch ride to church, “where there’s a meeting goin' on." Bess knew that if he got a ride to the church someone would take him home. He would always have a testimony after singing his favorite song, “Run Mary Run." Because of his warm heart and gentle soul, every one looked after him and took care of him as their own. Race was never a barrier for him, he simply loved everybody.
Bess loved to fish and he was an excellent swimmer. He taught most of the young boys to swim, therefore drowning was down to a minimum because of "Na."
Bess loved to share. He would always have a pocket full of mints to give to anyone he met. He gave them to people at the dialysis office just to see the smile on their faces. At his final viewing he held a mint candy in his white glove. Huger will miss their doorkeeper.