Rudolph "Rudy" Besta, a near lifelong resident of Granite City, Ill., passed away from natural causes on Sunday March 16, 2014, in Florissant, Mo., after a long illness.
He was 90 and of proud Croatian heritage. Born in 1923 in the small village of Golo Brdo, Yugoslavia, Rudy immigrated to the United States at the age of five with his parents and two sisters to seek a better life, settling in Granite City where his father, Joseph Besta, found employment as a millwright at Granite City Steel.
Rudy graduated in 1941 from Granite City Community High School, where he met his future wife Gloria. After proudly serving his country in the United States Marine Corps from 1942-1945, stationed in the South Pacific, he married his high school sweetheart Gloria Roseberry of Granite City on Oct. 5, 1945. They resided for over 47 years on Woodlawn Drive in Granite City and had two children, Renee and Mark Besta. The Besta family were members of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, where the children attended elementary school.
Rudy was an employee of Granite City Steel for over 40 years, eventually working as a 50-Inch Leveler Operator at the main controls of the Cold Rolled Finishing Leveling Line. He was an active soccer and baseball coach at St. Elizabeth, and volunteered his time for the Boy Scouts and St. Elizabeth PTA. Rudy loved to go fishing, boating, and camping, and especially enjoyed traveling with his family via station wagon with a camper trailer in tow. Rudy was an avid card player and gardener, loved woodworking and furniture restoration, and was very skilled at home repairs and fixing things up.
After retirement, he and his wife Gloria enjoyed starting a small antiques and collectibles business, showcasing their wares at many flea markets and antique malls in Illinois and Missouri. Although his son Mark tragically died at the age of 19 in 1976, Rudy and Gloria made many trips to California over the years to visit their daughter Renee, where they traveled across the Southwest and Mexico.
Rudy was preceded in death by his parents, Mary (Nigovic) and Joseph Besta of Granite City; his beloved wife Gloria (Roseberry) Besta; his loving son Mark Besta; two sisters, Donica (Besta) Warren of Granite City and Zorka (Besta) Ritchie of Highland; and his treasured Bichon Frise Chloe Noelle. He is survived by his daughter Renee Besta of Paso Robles, Calif., as well as five nieces and three nephews.
Special heartfelt thanks go out to his skilled caregiver, Mr. Gary Dellerman of Florissant, Mo., the caring team at Gentiva Hospice, and his niece Mary Jo Warren of Kirkwood, Mo.
"Dearest Mom and Dad, I love you both so very much and will miss you terribly. You leave a hole in my heart that nothing will ever fill. Thank you for all the love and support you gave me during my 60 years. I pray you will find peace and joy in your reunion with God and our departed family. All my love, Renee."
Arrangements are being handled by Wojstrom Funeral Home in Granite City. Online guest book and information available at www.wojstrom.com.
Funeral: A celebration of life and memorial service are being planned in the near future. Rudy will be interred next to his wife and son at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Edwardsville, Ill.
WOJSTROM FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY, Granite City, Ill.
Wojstrom Funeral Home & Crematory
3939 Lake Drive Granite City, IL 62040
(618) 931- 3939
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Mar. 23, 2014