Obituary of Joseph Besse (2021) – Erie, IL
Joseph Jay Besse
February 24, 1922 – December 21, 2021
Joseph Jay Besse, 99, of Erie IL, passed away on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at Morrison Community Hospital, Morrison, IL. Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at Gibson – Bode Funeral Home, Erie. Interment will follow at Erie Cemetery. Visitations will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, December 27, 2021 at the funeral home. Memorials can be made at the United Methodist Church in Erie or the Fire Department in Erie.
Joe was born February 24, 1922 at the house in River Road, Erie, during the 1922 flood. He was the son of Randolph S. and Della J. (Hawk) Besse. Joe attended Erie’s schools and drove his “Music” pony to school for several years. It was uphill both ways. Joe was a 3-sports letterer in high school and briefly held the 440-yard sprint record. In high school, he was president of the FFA his last year. After graduating from Erie High School, he briefly attended the University of Illinois for veterinary medicine. Joe was married to Mildred Jean Parker on June 19, 1948 and they were married for 64 years before his death in 2013. He was a member of the Whiteside County Feeder Association, president of the Illinois Angus Association, a member of Erie United Methodist Church and member of the Lake Erie Golf Course.
Joe was a longtime farmer in the Erie area. He began his farming career in 1941, purchasing a new international “M” that year. He farmed with his brother Richard for 39 years, then with his son Mark for 37 years. Richard and Joe have been raising Angus breeds for many years. Her children were involved with FFA and 4-H in their youth. Joe never really retired from farming, but continued to be interested in agricultural innovations, yields and markets. Joe has seen many changes in farming, from hand picking corn with a team of horses to riding in a John Deere combine with a 12 row header and planting with a 24 row planter. He was a longtime Cub fan, Ernie Banks was his favorite player. He enjoyed golfing on men’s day and playing golf with his wife Millie. The guys on the course called him “Sweet Swing” and he gave a hole in one at the age of 70. He and Millie have participated in many golf events together. He was a fan of watching Erie High School Sports, especially the Warkins tournament. He loved to watch his children play sports and play games in the yard with his grandchildren.
Joe and Millie have enjoyed traveling to many destinations including Austria, Spain and for their 25th anniversary, Hawaii. They also spent many years wintering in Florida where it dominated the shuffleboard courts. During the 1990 flood, Joe was interviewed and quoted on the USA Today front page for his knowledge of the area’s flooding.
Joe worked hard and raised his family, friends and cultures under his care. His wit, strength, wisdom and humor will be missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his 4 children, Mark (Regina) Besse, Erie, Bart (Sue) Besse, Louisburg, KS, Brenda Besse, Erie and Jody Besse, Erie; grandchildren, Kelsey (John) Lorenzen, Nicole Besse, Bridget (Steve) Graff, Randl (Julie) Besse,, Colin (Lauren) Besse, Brooklin (Eric) Rodricks, Cheyenne Voss, Chastity (Craig) Morrison; great-grandchildren, Hailey, Hannah, Erin and Elena Lorenzen, Charlotte Besse, Emily and Gavin Graff, Knox and Lincoln Besse, Maverick and Ryder Besse, Logan and Jaydon Voss, Lillian, Callan, Emmy Lou and Sarah Kate Morrison; and great-great-granddaughter, Avelyn Voss. He was predeceased by his wife Millie; daughter-in-law, Bonnie Besse; brother, Richard Besse and Ron Paaske.
Posted by The Rock Island Dispatch Argus on December 23, 2021.