SEARSPORT – Richard G. Bessel, 97, passed away March 3, 2012, surrounded by his loving family in Belfast. He was born Dec. 27, 1914, in New York City.

Richie moved to New Fairfield, Conn., in 1925 and as a boy worked as a dairy farmer on the family farm for many years. He was one of the original members of New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Co. He married his beloved wife, Ruth, in 1948, and they raised five loving children. They were long-standing members of New Fairfield Lutheran Church. He also worked for New Fairfield Town Highway Department. He and his wife moved to Searsport in 1992, where he had built their retirement home. They have been members of Searsport First Congregational Church since then. Richie enjoyed tending his large vegetable garden, hunting and fishing to “put food on the table” for his growing family. He had such a sweet disposition. His family sometimes called him “The History Professor” because he could always recount events going way back in history and loved passing that knowledge on to the next generation.

He was predeceased by his parents, Michael and Augusta (Marks) Bessel; brothers, Arthur Bessel, Robert Bessel, Henry Bessel and Eric Bessel; and sister, Augusta “Goody” Bessel Risopp. Survivors include his loving wife of 63 years, Ruth; five loving children and their spouses, Cynthia (Bessel) Prusski and Jeffrey of Maine, Nancy (Bessel) Cook and Thomas of Philippines, Richie Bessel Jr., Vickie Bessel and Lew Latanzi, all of Connecticut, Michael Bessel and Kisha of North Carolina; nine beloved grandchildren, Melinda (McGarty) Webb and husband, Rich, Matthew Ferretti and wife, Heather Ferretti, Taarak Prusski, Myrta (Prusski) Coleman and husband, Chris, Kristen Bessel, Caitlin Bessel, Michaela Bessel, Richie Bessel III, and Christian Ronald Cook; and three dear great-grandchildren, Morgan Webb, Sydney Webb and Leah Noel Bessel. He is also survived by many dear nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service and reception will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at Searsport First Congregational Church. His family will have a private burial service in the spring at Elmwood Cemetery, Searsport. Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast. Online condolences may be offered to the family at

www.ripostafh.com.