Barbara Edney Bessette died Sunday, August 4, 2019, at St. Johnsbury Health and Rehab.
Born in Gilman, Vermont, December 21, 1929, she was the daughter of Robert Hill and Gertrude Edney Hill. As a child and young woman she lived in Gilman, East Concord, the Hill farm in Waterford, and in St. Johnsbury.
On December 5, 1950, she married Normand R. Bessette, after converting to the Catholic Church the previous month. They lived briefly in Charleston, S.C., and Chicago, Ill., and also in Danville, finally settling in St. Johnsbury. Barbara helped to raise six children. She worked in a variety of jobs including in a dry cleaning shop, in a sewing shop, in the school lunchroom, and as a chambermaid. She eventually found her true calling in caring for the elderly. She worked at St. Johnsbury Health and Rehab for about 20 years and actually graduated on March 25, 1993, as a Certified Nurse’s Aide from the first class offered. After getting done there, she continued to care for the elderly in their homes. On May 5, 2004, she received the Governor’s Service Award, signed by Gov. James Douglas, “in recognition of valuable contributions to older persons and persons with disabilities.”
Barbara enjoyed life as well and had many hobbies: crocheting, knitting, making apple-head dolls, rug hooking, and sewing. She enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She served as both a Girl Scout and Cub Scout Leader. Barbara was a special friend to Mrs. Santa Claus for years and stood in for her when she was overbooked. She was a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in St. Johnsbury and participated in their Ladies Society.
Her survivors include her six children and their families: Celeste Bessette of Monroe, N.H.; Gisele Burrington and husband Brian of Kirby, Vt., and their children Barbara and Joseph; Antonia “Toni” Morris and her partner Eugene Dussault of Waterford, Vt., and her children Samantha, Heather, and Craig; Anna Bessette of St. Johnsbury and her children Jesse and Jodi; Suzanne “Tugi” Bessette of St. Johnsbury; and Bruce Bessette of Monroe, N.H., and his children Jordan and Jillian. Barbara is also survived by 14 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by all her siblings: Clinton, Robert and Charles Hill and Thelma Perkins, Helen Williams, and Dorothy Olcutt. She was also predeceased by her husband Normand, and two infant sons, Steve and Charles, and her desire was to be with them and her Savior.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, August 8, 2019, 11 a.m. at St. Johns Church, Main Street in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Friends may call on the family Wednesday evening, August 7, 2019, 6-8 p.m. at Sayles Funeral Home, 525 Summer St. in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Burial will take place on Friday, August 9, 2019, 1 p.m. at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, St. Johns Street in St. Johnsbury.
The family would like to thank the LNA’s and RN’s at St. Johnsbury Health and Rehab for all the care they tenderly gave our Mom. Blessings to you all!! Donations in Barbara’s memory may be made to Meals on Wheels-St. Johnsbury, P.O. Box 21, 1207 Main St., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819 or to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.saylesfh.com.