Father Theodore "Ted" Alfred Bessette

Photo of Father Theodore  "Ted" Alfred Bessette
Theodore (Ted) Alfred Bessette, 93 years old, of Scott, Ark., passed away in his sleep on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. Theodore was a man who loved God, family, church, and country. He loved history, stories, and jokes. With his wit, puns were particularly enjoyed. He was born in Jackson, Wyo. Jan. 28, 1920. Theodore was the only child of Gertrude Lynch Bessette and Frank Peter Bessette. Frank and Gertie homesteaded in Jackson's Hole, Wyo. in 1913. Theodore graduated from High School in Jackson in 1938, University of Wyoming in 1942, and Nashotah House Theological Seminary in 1945. Nashotah House is an Episcopal Seminary with a strong Anglo Catholic heritage. Theodore was ordained to the priesthood in May 1945 in Kemmerer, Wyo. He had brief assignments in Kemmerer, Wyo. and Salida, Colo. In 1948 Father Bessette settled in as Rector of St. Clement Episcopal Church in Harvey, Ill., the first integrated church in the Chicago area. In 1956 he met and married the love of his life, Alice Robinson Vineyard. While in Harvey, they were blessed with their first three children, Frank, Margaret, and Theodore Jr. In 1963, Theodore and Alice moved their family to Antioch, Ill. where Theodore was called to be Rector of St. Ignatius Episcopal Church. They were looking for a community in which to serve God and raise their family. St. Ignatius in Antioch was the answer. The family was soon joined by another son, George. Theodore and Alice raised their family in the busy little town of Antioch where the children grew up and graduated from Antioch Community High School. Antioch and St. Ignatius provided a solid and comfortable place to raise their family. He thought that family was key: siblings stand together. Theodore often reminded his children that families should always stick together, even if separated by geography. In 1985, Theodore retired and moved to Arkansas. Alice was born and raised in Little Rock, so they returned to this area. For the last 20 years, they have lived on Old River Lake. Father Theodore Bessette is survived by his wife of 57 years, Alice; and their children, Frank (Marcia), Margaret (Lynn), Theodore (Margaret), and George (Debby); and eight grandchildren, Alexa, Yasmine, Dominique, Robinson, Lilly, Alice, George, and Sally. He was preceded in death by one granddaughter, Brienna Lee. A Mass of Christian burial for Father Bessette will be at 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, North Little Rock, Ark. Interment will be at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock, Ark. immediately following. Arrangements were made by Roller-Owens Funeral Home, 5509 JFK Boulevard, North Little Rock, Ark. The family suggests memorial contributions be made in his name to Nashotah House Theological Seminary, The Office of Development & Church Relations, 2777 Mission Road, Nashotah, Wis. 53058 USA or online Online guestbook:

Published January 26, 2014

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