Nona Bessette (1933 - 2016)

  • "Words alone cannot ease the pain and loss that your family..."
  • "Diana, Sorry for the loss of your mother. Prayers and..."
  • "Deepest sympathies to all the family. I always enjoyed..."
    - Marlene Fulton
  • "My condolences to Duane and family."
    - Wendy Ferguson
  • "She was my Aunt whom I was named after. Sadly I never got a..."
    - Nona Williams

Nona Bessette went peacefully to be with the Lord on April 8, 2016. She was born to Zelda and Arthur Punley on Dec. 18, 1933, in Lawton, Okla. She grew up on a 160-acre farm in Anadarko, Okla. She began her education in a one-room-schoolhouse that she reached by riding her horse. She later went to Chilocco Indian High School, graduating in 1952. She then studied Cosmetology and was licensed in Oklahoma. In 1953, Nona enlisted in the United States Air Force, where she met and married the love of her life, Duane Bessette, who was also in the Air Force. They married in Belleville, Ill., on April 9, 1954. In their nearly 62 years of marriage, they had four children, nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. During Duane's 27 years of active duty they lived in Spain, Germany and numerous state-side bases before they moved to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1971. Once her children were grown, Nona worked as a draft person for the State of Alaska until she retired in 1990. After retirement, Nona and Duane traveled regularly, visiting exotic locations like New Zealand, Costa Rico and many more. Duane and Nona were seldom apart, they enjoyed living as "snow birds" in Alaska during the summer and Arizona in the winter. Nona was a talented artist, who enjoyed painting beautiful Alaska landscapes and portraits of those she loved. She was active in the community though the Anchorage Women's Club and the Pioneer School House. Nona valued her family more than anything. She loved deeply and was deeply loved. She was respected and admired by all that crossed her path. She had a rare beauty and while she was undeniably lovely, it was her inner beauty that radiated. Always smiling, happy and kind she lived a life full of beauty, grace and love. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Arthur; and her beloved son, Michael. She leaves behind her husband, Duane; sons, Duane Jr. (Elizabeth) and Steven (Sabrina); daughter, Diana (Jon); brothers, Norman and Kenneth (Estelle); and grandchildren, Christina, Angela, Tony, Steven Jr., Jaclyn (Jesse), Michael Jr. (Kimberley), Megan (David), JD and Jordan. A celebration of life will be held at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, 1300 East 19th Avenue in Anchorage, on Friday, April 22, 2016, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Apr. 17, 2016
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