Carl William Bessette has ridden off into the sunset. He died at age 89, after a short bout of pneumonia, on October 20, 2019, in Wellington, Fla. A professional horseman, he led a life well-lived, doing what he loved doing the most: sharing his love of people and horses.
Carl was born on Rose Street in Burlington, Vt., in 1930 to Arthur and Blanche (Levee) Bessette. Arthur and his brother Paul owned a trucking company and a stable where they rented horses. Carl followed in his father’s footsteps, driving a bread truck to support his horse business. That evolved from the Bessette Brother’s Riding Stable to a stable in Shelburne to Champlain Riding School in Williston in 1964. He served in the Marines from 1948 to 1951. He married Virginia Donaldson in 1951.
In 1968, Carl started a series of moves in his equestrian career. He headed the equitation program at St. Lawrence University and then moved to New Jersey to Tewksbury Farms. In 1977, he was appointed director of riding at Southern Seminary Junior College in Virginia. In 1983, he began his life in Florida, including at Little Place Farm and Done Bobbin Farm.
Carl is survived by son Eric Bessette, daughter-in-law Jennifer Baker and grandson Noah Bessette; as well as his son David Bessette and grandson Ethan Bessette. He was predeceased by his daughter, Cathy Lynn.
The family would like to offer thanks for the extraordinary care Carl was given by his “angels,” who allowed him to maintain his life with horses to the very end: Patti Roberts Blank, Angela Green, M. Douglas Mutch, Kelly Hamshaw, Margaret Bidgood and “super angel” Jill Soderqvist.
A celebration of life will be held at the Lakeview House on Route 7 in South Burlington on November 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Casual attire.)