338 - 4th Avenue North | Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 2L7
Obituary of Bud Besse
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Harry Leroy (Bud) Besse died peacefully at home on April 20, 2023 with his family by his side.
Bud was born on March 22, 1935 in Biggar SK to Bert and Helen Besse, who lived at Wilson Lake SK until they moved to Saskatoon in 1943. The fourth of 6 children, he attended Thornton School, Buena Vista School (during the war), and Saskatoon Technical Collegiate (briefly) until he began working full time at age 15.
Bud married Shirley Milton on June 14, 1952 when they were 17 years old. They raised four children and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June 2022. Together they created lasting family memories at their Waldsea Lake cabin, Besse Family Reunions in Biggar SK and Hope BC, Besse Boxing Day dinners, as well as smaller gatherings of their own family at Pike Lake and Waskesiu. Bud and Shirley also enjoyed two decades of snowbird travel to Arizona and California.
With Shirley’s love and support, Bud pursued his professional, sports and community engagement goals.
In 1950, Bud started work at Saskatoon Dental Lab, became a dental technician and later opened Hub City Dental Lab. In 1977, Bud became a denturist and joined his brother Larry as one of four partners at Allied Denture Clinic. Bud retired in 2000 after 50 years in the dental business.
From his earliest days, Bud was an avid fastball and hockey player, and ties to these two sports followed him throughout his life. Bud was involved in fastball for 30 years as a player, umpire and coach. He coached the Star Phoenix senior men’s fastball team to several wins including a provincial championship in 1970. Bud quit playing competitive hockey as a teenager but never lost his love for the game. He donned a striped shirt at 18 and began officiating minor hockey. By the time he was 21, he was officiating senior, junior and university ranks and later served on the executive of the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association - which included Referee-In-Chief from 1971-1973. His involvement with the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association began as a parent, which led to coaching and culminated in his role as administrator.
Bud was a long time member of the Saskatoon Golf & Country Club, a member of the Sutherland Curling Rink Seniors League, a Charter member of the Pow City Kinsmen Club, and a life long horse racing enthusiast, who shared ownership in several race horses over the years. An active AA member for 57 years, Bud was also a key organizer of the Drystick Invitational Golf Tournament at Waskesiu Lake Golf Course for 25 years.
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest, said “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.” Bud’s active involvement in the community led to a number of honours over the years: he was named 1974 Kinsmen of the Year; one of the 100 Saskatoon Citizens honoured in 1982 by the City of Saskatoon, Century Saskatoon (1882-1982) and the Sports Committee for citizenship and outstanding service in the community; the 1985 Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year; a charter member of the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame, where he was inducted as a Builder, Class of 1986; and in 1988 he received the Government of Canada Certificate of Merit for his contribution to his community, signed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. More recently Bud was honoured by the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association as a long time supporter of thoroughbred horse racing in Saskatchewan. In August 2022, the City of Saskatoon advised him that a street, park or building would be named after him in the future.
Bud was a soft spoken, thoughtful man who engaged everyone with integrity, respect and kindness. While declining health and the pandemic reduced his activities, he continued to encourage and support his family and friends as well as mentor those seeking his guidance. Into his 80s, Bud remained a fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Canadiens, and actively followed live horse racing on his computer.
Bud is survived by his sweetheart Shirley; daughters Deb (Doug) and Lyn; sons Randy (Jan) and Tom (Tracy); grandchildren Jami (Troy), Jana (Tyler), Erin (Mitch), Bryn (Roxanne), Sean, Noah and Kylie; great-grandchildren Ty, Ruby, Jorja, Elijah, Sarah and Reese; his brother Larry (Rhoda); honorary little sister Arlene (Keith); and many nieces and nephews. Bud was predeceased by his parents and siblings Carmen, Muriel, Gerry and Betty.
The family is very grateful to Bud’s outstanding medical team, especially Dr. Darcy Marciniuk; Nurse Clinician Dana Higgins; and Dr. Bob Parker.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, July 9, 2023 beginning at 1:00 pm at the Western Development Museum, with further details to be provided closer to the date. Bud requested that any donations in his memory be directed to the Saskatoon Salvation Army.
A life well lived; a man well loved.
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338 - 4th Avenue North
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 2L7
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