LeRoy J. Bessey, age 86 of Rhinelander, passed away Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in his home, surrounded by his loving family. He was born Jan. 21, 1932, in the town of Heller, Lincoln County, to Edmund and Emma Bessey.
Roy attended elementary school in the town of Heller and as a young boy, worked on the family farm and ran a trap line before school in the morning. Roy was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1953. He then began his lifelong career as a meat cutter, where he worked at various locations throughout north central Wisconsin helping develop meat departments of newly opened stores. Roy won several awards for his achievements, including a national marketing award.
Roy married Catherine “Kate” Scheidegger on Oct. 24, 1959, in Rhinelander. Together, they had three children; Glenn, Lynda, and Kim. Roy and Kate purchased a neighborhood grocery store in 1967. They operated Bessey’s Grocery Store until 1987. After closing the store, Roy operated Bessey’s Café on Main Street, did carpentry work for several years, and expanded his hobby farm, widely known for growing pumpkins, which he did for the rest of his life. He loved working in his garden. A perfect day for him was one spent in the hot summer sun tending his gardens. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing trips, cooking, canning, playing cards, spending time with family especially with his grandchildren, Joe and Megan. Roy was also proud and happy to welcome his first great-grandchild, Garrett James Dorion, born in October 2017.
Roy was very happy when his son, Glenn, opened Bessey’s Meat Market in the same location that he and Kate had operated their grocery store. Roy went back to work for Glenn at the age of 76, and continued to work at the shop until three weeks before his passing. He truly enjoyed his days of meat cutting again and has often commented that he wants to be remembered for working until the day he dies. Roy was an ambitious, hardworking, and dedicated man who took pride in instilling these values in his children and grandchildren.
Roy is survived by his wife, Catherine “Kate” Bessey; his son, Glenn (Sandy Cihlar) Bessey; two daughters, Lynda (Mark Hahner) Bessey and Kim (Brant Zeromski) Dorion; grandson, Joseph (Nicole) Dorion; granddaughter, Megan Dorion; great-grandson, Garrett Dorion; sister, Diane Doering; sisters-in-law, Joan Bessey, Janice Lambele, Sandy (Ken) Gardner, Darlene Scheidegger, Sharon Scheidegger, and Virginia (Jim) Detlefson; and his three Brittany Spaniels, Jack, Blaze, and Ranger. He is further survived by many nieces, nephews, and good friends.
Roy was preceded in death by his parents, Edmund and Emma Bessey; parents-in-law, Merritt and Virginia Scheidegger; son-in-law, Ray Dorion; brother, Duwayne Bessey; and sister, Jean Pike.
The funeral service for Roy will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb.14, at Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church, with Rev. Tammy Barthels officiating. Visitation will be from 4 until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) and from 10 a.m. until the time of service on Wednesday at the church. Condolences to the family may be directed at www.carlsonfh.com.
The family wishes to extend their sincerest thanks to the Ascension Hospice staff and Helping Hands Home Care for their kind and compassionate care provided Roy.