Nicolass Isak Bessem
January 30th, 1933 - November 1st, 2019
Nicolass was born January 1933 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the second of six children born to Herman Bessem and Dorothy (Geiss). The family resided in Brunkild, Manitoba until they moved to southern Ontario where his father joined the Dutch army during WWII. While his father was serving in the war effort the family socialized with the other Dutch families. The family first resided in the Stratford area then Guelph. After the war ended Herman Dorothy and family moved to a farm in Rockwood. Nick and his siblings started attending St. James The Apostle in Guelph where Nick and Pieter joined the boys’ choir, he developed a long-standing relationship with the church that continued with every move he made in his life.
Nick grew up on the farm and at 18 he left to join the navy in 1951 at HCMS Star in Hamilton. In the navy he became an electronics technician and was stationed on many ships, and shore bases.
During his years of service, he met and Married Joan McCarthy (1956) she gave birth to three sons, Michel Robert, Ronald Patrick & Andrew Nicolass. The marriage ended in divorce.
While on course at the US naval base in Key West Florida he met his second wife Janet Hansen who was a Wren in the RCN. Once training ended, they both were stationed at HMCS Shelburne. They married in 1964 in Winnipeg, Manitoba where they both had family roots. Together they had three daughters Kirsten Nicole, Sytske Gayl, & Erika Dawn who were born while Nick was stationed at different bases from Halifax to Ottawa. In 1973 they bought their first house in Middleton, Nova Scotia where they were living when Nick retired from the Navy after 26 years of service.
Nick was a member of the Anglican Church of Canada, he attended and was involved with many different parishes, St James The Apostle in Guelph, St Matthews Winnipeg, St Richards Ottawa, Holy Trinity Middleton, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Vital, St. Andrews on the Red, St Andrews. He served in different capacities and was at different times a choir member, Rectors warden, men’s club member, vestry member, and was also very involved with the restoration committee at St. Andrews on the Red in the 1990s.
In 1977 Nick and Jan packed up the family and moved back to Manitoba where he got a job working at Boeing of Canada. Nick worked in the tooling department at Boeing where he made many friends, he was always quick to join many of the extra activities that were involve in being part of the bigger community there as well. Nick worked for Boeing Canada for 17 years and retired from his second career in 1994
It was not very long after retirement from the Navy that Nick looking to be involved in the community was invited to join the local Lions Club. The Lions became a driving passion in his life which continued until his passing a total of 43 years. He was to become a very active member serving first in Nova Scotia and then when the family moved to Manitoba, he joined the Riverside, Selkirk, & Lac Du Bonnet Lions clubs in succession as he and Jan moved about the province. In his years of service to the Lions he was heavily involved in the Building of the Riverside Lions Manor, the Lions Eye Bank, Lions Foundation of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, the Lions Telethon, & many other community support such as the Seniors dinner and the Canada day Celebrations in LDB. Nick was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow in 1991, and elected the District Governor of 5M12 in 1993, he continued to serve in many capacities and was named life member to the Lions foundation in 2019.
After retirement it was not long before they moved permanently out to the Lake because they both wanted to be close to the water. Nick never one to sit idle joined the Legion in Lac Du Bonnet, he very shortly was on the executive committee and became involved in many of the activities and community support that the Legion had to offer.
Nicolass leaves to morn, his wife Janet of 55 years, his children, Michel (Linda), Ronald (Tanua), Kirsten (Travis), Sytske (Scott), Erika (Jeff), his grandchildren Becky, Samantha, Erika, Nicolass, Mathew, Katherine, Grace, Tyler, Jared, Deric, Alexander, Jessica, & Brayden as well as his great grandchildren.
He also will be greatly missed by his siblings, Betty, Pieter, Wilhelmina, Sytske, Hermina and Sylvester as well as his brother and sisters-in-law, and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews who all had a special place in his heart.
Family and friends are invited to join us in celebrating Nick's life on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Gilbart Funeral Home, Selkirk. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Nick's memory to the Lions Eye Bank.
The family wish to thank Dr. Bruneau and the caring staff at Pinawa hospital for their care and compassion in his last weeks.
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