The former Mary Ellen Neely was the oldest of seven children born on April 8, 1945 to Edward and Ellen (O’Connor) Neely at New London Hospital. She graduated from Bear Creek High School in 1963. Mary was united in marriage on August 17, 1963 to Robert S. Bessette at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Bear Creek. Mary comes from a family with a pair of twin brothers and now she has two sets of twin great-grandchildren. She worked for some time as a cook at Willies Bar & Grill, Bear Creek and for many years in the bakery at Denny’s SuperValu, New London. But her most important task was taking care of her family. Mary will be remembered most as a wonderful wife, a loving mother, and a proud grandmother. The couple lived much of the lives in the Bear Creek area until settling in Clintonville in 2012. Mary is a member of St. Mary’s parish where she was active as a Eucharistic Minister, served on the St. Rose/St. Mary’s School Board and volunteered with countless church functions and projects. She liked being with her family and winning on the slot machines at the casino. She especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Survivors include her husband of 53 years, Bob; and four children, Tony (Dana) Bessette of Bear Creek, Patrick (Jane) Bessette of Bear Creek, Crissy (special friend Jeff Hoffmann) Wenzel of Clintonville, and Kelly Hernandez of Appleton. There are 12 grandchildren: Kyle (Ashley) Bessette, Nikki (Matthew) Ziebell; Tyler and Abby Bessette; Emily, Brady, Casey Wenzel, and Sassie Roou; Trevor Bessette; Jacob Baron, Chelsea (Adam) Barnick, and Kristyn Baron. There are 14 great-grandchildren: Morgan, Mason, Miles, Merek, Megan Bessette; Ashton and Sawyer Ziebell; Parker, Logan, and Fischer Bessette; Eleyna Wenzel; Ava and Chloe Barnick; and Caileen Baron. There are two sisters and four brothers, Jane (Ron) Lorge of Bear Creek, Dan (Rachel) Neely of New London, Tom (Barb) Neely of Bear Creek, John (Connie) Neely of New London, Gerri (Tom) Barkow of Tigerton, and Tim Neely of Clintonville. There are two sisters-in-law, Florence Hamlin of New London and Pat (Roger) Tuscher of Sacramento, CA. There is one brother-in-law, LeRoy (Pat) Bessette of Sugar Bush. She is further survived by special relatives, Tina Mergener of Juneau, WI, and Kevin Wenzel of Clintonville; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Mary is preceded in death by her parents, her father and mother-in-law, Peter and Iva Bessette; sisters-in-law, Phyllis (Herbie) Smeiska, Marie Schneider, and Theresa Bessette; and a brother-in-law, Don (Lillian) Bessette.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, December 5th at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Bear Creek. Fr John “Jack” Mullarkey will officiate and burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Friends may call on Monday from 9:00 a.m. until time of mass at the church. The Beil-Didier Funeral Home, Clintonville, is assisting the family.
The family wishes to thank doctors, Robert Nonn and Renae Schuler for the compassionate care provided. We also wish to thank all the doctors and nurses with ThedaCare at Home Hospice and ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, Appleton, especially the 8th floor staff for the love and support given to mom.