Home 9 Obituaries 9 Lionel (Lee) Joseph Besse

Lionel (Lee) Joseph Besse

October 22, 1930 - May 21, 2023

Lionel (Lee) Joseph Besse Lionel (Lee) Joseph Besse
    June 1, 2023 | 10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.
  • St. John Neumann Catholic Church
    2900 East Main Street
    Saint Charles, IL 60174
  • Funeral
  • June 1, 2023 | 11:00 A.M.
  • St. John Neumann Catholic Church
    2900 East Main Street
    Saint Charles, IL 60174
  • Burial Location
    Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL

Lionel (Lee) Joseph Besse passed away in Tucson, Arizona on May 21, 2023.  Born on October 22, 1930, to Lionel Lucian Besse of Fowler, Indiana, and Marie Brosseau of Kankakee, Illinois. Lee was preceded in death by his wife Ellen Esther Bonifield who passed away July 21, 2022. He was the oldest of 3 children, brother Donald of Seattle, Washington, and sister Elieen (McCarty) of Dallas, Texas.

Lee and Ellen were married in Chicago in 1957, and is survived by one daughter, Cara Marie (Kingsley) and son-in-law John Kingsley of St. Charles, Illinois and 2 grandchildren, Sarah Rose Kingsley (Fisher), of Crystal Lake and Paige Ellen Kingsley of Romeoville, Illinois.

Services for Lee Besse are as follows:

Visitation: Thursday, June 1, 10:00-11:00 a.m. St. John Neumann Catholic Church, St. Charles, Illinois. Catholic Mass to follow

Interment will take place in the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois on June 2, 2023, at 1:00 p.m.

Lionel (Lee) grew up in Brookfield, Illinois and graduated from Lyons Township High School.  He joined the Army in 1954 and served in the 899th Tank Battalion in Germany for 2 years as a clerk typist during the Korean War. After active duty he transferred to the army reserves in Riverside, Illinois.

Lee attended University of Illinois-Chicago at Navy Pier; he then transferred to University of Illinois in Champagne where he met Ellen Esther Bonifield.  He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Arts and Sciences.

After graduation Lee worked as a salesman for the newspaper industry selling typesetters. He would spend his entire career working in this industry. Late in his career he owned his own business selling computers and software specializing in typesetting applications.

The Besse family was transferred to Toledo where their daughter Cara was born, then Cleveland Ohio, and to Green Bay, Wisconsin working as a sales manager for Addressograph Multigraph.  They finally settled in Eureka, Illinois then bought 80 acres of farmland in Secor, Illinois where he enjoyed riding his horse Scout, traveling for business and pleasure, and always learning new skills.

Lee was very active in sports, running in marathons, skiing, scuba diving and golfed every weekend at Kaufman Park Golf Course in Eureka, Illinois. He also was very proud of being a private pilot and singing in the Green Valley, Arizona’s Barbershop choir.

Lee and Ellen moved to Green Valley, Arizona in 2005 where they enjoyed the company of close friends, golfing, warmer weather, and mountain views.


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