Obituary: Robert Bernard Bessette Sr., 1931-2019 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Robert Bernard Bessette Sr., 1931-2019

Published August 15, 2019 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated August 15, 2019 at 11:46 a.m.

Robert Bernard Bessette Sr.
  • Robert Bernard Bessette Sr.

Robert Bernard Bessette Sr. was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend. He loved his family, friends, his home and Vermont. He died at home, surrounded by his family, on August 13, 2019.

The son of Mildred (Clarke) and Theodore Bessette, he was born in Burlington on October 31, 1931, always making Halloween extra special for his family.

Bob spent his early years in the South End of Burlington, often recounting fond memories of his many adventures growing up there. He graduated from Burlington High School, class of 1950. He was a Korean War-era Army veteran, enlisting in 1952 and serving in Okinawa, Japan.

On August 16, 1952, he married the love of his life, Helen (Payea) Bessette. Whether traveling, dancing, seeing the races at Saratoga, visiting casinos or just picnicking on the waterfront, they truly enjoyed being together, especially when surrounded by family and friends.

His love of nature, and particularly the natural beauty of Vermont, began at a young age, when he would hunt and fish with his father, brother and friends. He had a lifelong passion for hunting and fishing and the outdoors, and he passed this along to his children and many of his friends. He was hunting during the 2018 deer season (bow, rifle and muzzleloader), spending many hours in the woods the week before he became ill. Playing golf and following the Red Sox were also lifelong interests.

Bob worked at General Electric in Burlington for many years before moving to a career in corrections with the State of Vermont. “Sparky” retired from CCCC in 1990 after 20 years of service.

In addition to his loving wife, Helen, Bob is survived by his daughters, Julie Giguere and her husband, Alan, and Suellen Bessette, all of Burlington; and his sons, Timothy of Milton, Jay and Jon of Burlington, and Bradley and his wife, Shelley, of Barre. He is also survived by his seven grandchildren, Shelby Jors and her husband, Charlie, of Seattle, Wash.; and Darren Giguere, Justin Boucher, Abaigeal Lundy, Trevor and Kyle Bessette, and Brandon Ha Bessette; as well as his two great-grandchildren, Brolin and Josephine Jors. Dad, Grandpa and Great-Grandpa, Bob shared a special and unique relationship with each of us.

Bob was predeceased by his parents; his three siblings, Ted, Katherine and Norma; his infant daughter Kathy Jean; and his beloved son Robert (Bobby) Jr.

Our family would like to express our sincere appreciation to the compassionate and caring staff of the University of Vermont Home Health & Hospice and to the friends who made it possible for us to fulfill Dad’s wish of being at home throughout his illness. Please consider a memorial donation to UVM Home Health & Hospice (

There will be no visitation. Burial will be private. A celebration of life is being planned for a later date.

Arrangements are in the care of the Cremation Society of Chittenden County, a division of Ready Family, 261 Shelburne Rd., Burlington. To send online condolences, please visit

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