Thomas Trefley Bessette
Thomas Trefley Bessette

Age: 73 • Shelburne

Thomas Trefley Bessette passed away on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at the age of 73. A lifelong Shelburne resident, he was born in his family home on February 26, 1942 to Thomas and Hilda (Thomas) Bessette. He graduated from Shelburne High School in 1960, served in the Vermont National Guard and married Joanne Martin on May 6, 1967. Tom cared deeply about his community. He made countless friends and valued each of them for the richness they brought to his life. He was an active member of the Shelburne community serving in a variety of capacities including selectman, volunteer firefighter, police officer, town constable, health officer, animal control officer, and rescue squad driver. He also served as a board member of the Champlain Water District for more than thirty-five years. His love of people was apparent in his professional life as well. He worked at Parker Brothers, Inc. and then as head of security at Trinity College of Vermont. After Trinity's closure, Tom continued to serve the college community as an emergency dispatcher at St. Michael's College. Tom also worked for many years with Corbin & Palmer, Inc. He was an active member of the Catholic Church and the Ethan Allen Club, had a passion for photography, loved bird watching, and adored his four grandsons.

Thomas is predeceased by his parents and his brother Ronnie. He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years Joanne Bessette; their daughter Heather Bessette and her partner, Peter Straube of Monkton, VT; daughter Stephanie Egan, her husband Patrick and their children Brennan, Rowan and Declan of Bowers Beach, DE; and daughter Christine Terry, her husband Jason and their son Gavin of Shelburne, VT. He also leaves his dear brother Rick Bessette, his wife Candy and their sons Jeremy and Travis of Shelburne, VT.

Calling hours are Sunday, December 13, 2015 from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm at Corbin & Palmer Funeral Chapel in Shelburne, VT at 209 Falls Road. A funeral is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Monday, December 14, 2015 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington, VT. Burial will be immediately following church services at the Shelburne Town Cemetery following. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shelburne Rescue at P.O. Box 254 Shelburne, VT 05482.

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Published by The Burlington Free Press on Dec. 13, 2015.
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58 Entries
My God, it’s been 5 years now and I still miss visiting with Tom. I could always share my hopes and fears with him and I KNEW the advice I would get back was sold gold.

I cannot believe how much I miss that man.

God rest your soul, my friend.
Tim McGrath
December 7, 2020
To Joanne Ed and I were saddened to learn of Tom's passing. We have fond memories traveling to Burlington, Ontario for B.I.G. with you and Tom. May God's blessings be with you and your family. Ed and Anne Francisco
Ed and Anne Francisco
December 23, 2015
Please accept my deepest condolences on Tom's passing. From my recent work with him at CWD to my early rescue days on Iroquois First Response I always enjoyed working with Tom and will miss him greatly.
John Tymecki
December 21, 2015
Please accept my condolences for your loss. One can never be prepared for the empty void that's left when a loved one dies. Our Creator promises to give you the strength to live each day without. He says, "I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears I will heal you." ~ 2 Kings 20:5.
December 17, 2015
I knew Tom for many years when I worked at Trinity College. He always had a smile on his face and loved to joke around with people. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. My condolences to all of his family.
Elaine Minassian
December 17, 2015
I worked with Tom over my four years as a student at Trinity College. I will never forget his kindness and great sense of humor. A wonderful man.
Kris Browne
December 15, 2015
Dear Joanne and Family,
I only learned of Tom's passing today. I have many, many fond memories of Tom, serving on the Selectboard together, and just talking about the goings on in Shelburne. His warm and enthuastic approach to folks in town and about the town made him a pleasure to know and be around.

Gail and I send you our deepest condolences.

Ken Albert
Kenneth and Gail Albert
December 15, 2015
So sorry for you loss. I worked with Tom at Trinity, and can still hear his laugh that would ring out through Mann Hall. A great man with a great heart.
Pam Chisholm
December 15, 2015
Heather and family,
I am so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
Laurie Barnett
December 15, 2015
My sincerest condolences, Joanne, to you and your family. Even though I haven't seen Sonny for many years, I have fond memories of visiting him and his parents at their home in Shelburne Farms with my aunt and uncle, Emma and Bernard Thomas. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Barbara Carty Augostino
Barbara Augostino
December 15, 2015
Dear Joanne and family, We extend our sympathy to you and family during this time of loss. I always knew him as Sonny when we were at Shelburne High School. It was really good to read of the old Shelburne link that he brought forward from the town I remember. My brother Dan alerted the family and they have already reminisced, especially my sisters who all graduated from Trinity. I especially remember him as the head of 'advertising' for the SHS newspaper, The Spectator. John E. McGee, Jr. and Yvonne McGee
John and Yvonne McGee, Jr.
December 15, 2015
Joanne and family I was so sad to hear of Tom's passing. What a great man he was. Cherish the memories as there are good ones for sure. We are thinking of you all at this difficult time.
Dwight & Sue (Bora) Royce
December 15, 2015
Rick and family, sorry to hear about your brother. May you know that Tom is at peace now...keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers....
Darlene Isham
December 15, 2015
so sorry to read this He used to come to the bridge rest and always ask about my daughter he met her at Trinty You all are in mt prayers
Helen Cloutier
December 14, 2015
Happiest man I ever knew. God Speed Tom.
John Casey
December 14, 2015
Dear Joanne, Tom cannot be replaced. He was a giant with a heart to match. We shared our days at Trinity, St Catherine's, and Shelbune Schools with our lovely Heathers. He was a rock for so many. Your loss is shared by many but we know yours is deep. My husband and my family will remember you and your family in our Christmas prayers. Tom doesn't need them. He earned his place in heaven years ago. May you find peace this season. Sincerely, Pat Thomas, Naples, Fl.
Patricia Thomas
December 14, 2015
rip Tom u were a great man
tammy carpenter
December 14, 2015
Joanne and family-So sorry to hear of Tom's death. We hope your family finds solace in knowing that he was one of the "good guys" Peg (Thomas) and Don Culver
December 14, 2015
Mrs. Bessette and Family,
I was so sorry to read about Tom in the paper. I remember him so well from my time in the Shelburne School and at St. Catherine's. He was as nice and helpful an individual as I have ever met. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Chuck Cerasoli
December 14, 2015
My thoughts and prayers to Thomas's family. I knew him as a student at Trinity College,as a colleague at St. Michael's College and then as a resident of Shelburne!
I feel that he was always around me in some way.
Ann Giombetti
December 14, 2015
So sorry Joanne and Family for your loss. Tom was a wonderful friend and I enjoyed talking with him and listening to every word he had to say. He really was very smart and caring man. May he find his restful place in heaven and enjoy the choir of heavenly angels. We will be greatly missed by all.
Susan Paris
December 14, 2015
My deepest sympathies to Joanne and family, Tom will be greatly missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace!
Larry Gaudette
December 14, 2015
Joanne, I'm so sorry to hear about Tom. I have many fond memories of the days when we were kids and I would visit with my parents. I live in Florida so I won't be able to go to the service but please give my regards to Rick. I know how hard he must be taking Tom's passing. Think of you. David Fahl
David Fahl
December 14, 2015
Christine, Jason and Gavin, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to your entire family.
Derek Companion
December 14, 2015
Joanne and family Tom was a great person he was so friendly when I attended Trinity and when my husband Jon worked there. We are so sorry for your loss. If you need anything let Jon know, Tom was an inspiration to him.

Jon, Karen, Andrew, Katelyn, and Jamison Marcoux
December 14, 2015
So many fond memories of when you and Tom, cared for Stephen as a baby. We are all so sad for you and the girls, especially because their boys have lost such a great man for a grandpa.
Rick, Candy and Jeremy, our hearts are with all of you.
Kim, Channing & Stephen Mann
December 14, 2015
Joanne,Rick and your families my sincere sympathy to you all in this difficult time. Remembering the happy times and Tom's smiles and good humor are so important. He'll truly be missed by so many, many folks.
Sharon Haggarty Palady
December 14, 2015
Joanne, Heather, Stephanie and Christine, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
Sarah Goodrich
December 13, 2015
Joanne and family I am so sorry to hear this news. Tommy was a wonderful man and will be missed by all.
Pam Foley
December 13, 2015
We are sorry to hear of Tom's passing. He will be greatly missed by Shelburne He was always kind the others.
Tom & Sara Tompkins
December 13, 2015
Rick, I am so sorry to see today of your dear brother's passing. Keeping you in thought and prayer.
Irene Latreille
December 13, 2015
To the Bessette family,
On behalf of the Trinity Colege of Vermont Association of Alumni & Friends, please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss. Tom was not only the head of security but also a friend and father figure to so many of us on campus. He will be missed.
Mary Kay Driscoll
December 13, 2015
Joanne, we go back a long way. Our children grew up together. I remember going over for coffee while kids were in school. Many times together over the years. Walt and I are thinking of you, your girls and Tom' s precious brother. They were very close. God bless you all. Pauline Houghton
Pauline Houghton
December 13, 2015
Joanne and family. So sorry to hear of your loss.
Norm (Soupy) and Ruthie.
Norm Friedman
December 13, 2015
So sorry to hear of the passing of Tom. My thoughts & prayers go out to you Joanne & family. It was so good to see the both of you at the church supper this past fall.
Sharon Slattery
December 13, 2015
Rest in peace Tom. You will be missed and remembered by all of us here at the Dutch Mill. The Bissonettes
Michael Bissonette
December 13, 2015
Nice man who always seemed gentle and caring (knew him MORE back in-the-day when Shelburne Town Office was my employer in the 90's. It speaks volumes for the person when at the wake ....... folks are seen overflowing out to the street.

Rest in Peace,

C E A L -
Ceal Moran
December 13, 2015
Joanne & Family: I was shocked to hear of Tom's passing. We first met as members of the S. Burl. Kiwanis Club many years ago. It was there that we had our first discussion about B.I.G. After our talk, he volunteered to become Transportation Chairman. He worked very hard in a number of responsibilities including socials at Trinity. Darlene and I express our condolences and will keep you all and Tom in our thoughts and prayers.
Bruce O'Neill
The Villages, FL
Bruce O'Neill
December 13, 2015
He was a wonderful man, Joanne and will always be remembered because he gave so much to so many....Rest in Peace, Tom you've certainly earned it...
Sandy DuBois
December 13, 2015
Joanne my heart goes out to you. And the family.have know tom for many years and he was a great boss and friend god be with all of you
sharon paquette
December 13, 2015
Dear Jo and family, please know that Terry and I are thinking of you in this trying time.

God has him now and while it seems unfair to us, he has the eternal rewards promised for such a good man.

God bless you all.
Tim McGrath
December 13, 2015
No one had a heart as huge as Tom's! A passionate, kind soul, and a good, good man whose hearty laugh I will always remember. Sending you and your family peace.
Kelly Jane Thomas
December 13, 2015
Joanne Stephanie and family. Tom was a very special man who touched so many lives. Tom taught me so many lessons while I worked for him as a work study student at Trinity. Tom was our dad away from home and treated us all like daughters. Tom was such an amazing person his legacy will live on forever as he touched so many lives. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. God bless all of you.
Lisa Stebbins-Spitzer
December 13, 2015
Joanne and family...prayers and good thoughts are with you and your families. Keep those memories in your hearts.
Marie Boisvert
December 13, 2015
Dear Joanne, and family, my condolences to you at the lost of your wonderful Tom. He was unfailingly friendly, polite, and gracious. May there be easing of heartache and many good memories in your time ahead.
Sandra Dahl
December 13, 2015
Joanne and family...prayers and good thoughts to you and your families. Keep those memories in your hearts.
December 13, 2015
I remember working with Tom when he volunteered at the Salvation Army dinners. He was such a kind man with a generous heart and a true caring for the people he was serving. Heaven has one more angel. My condolences to the family...
Theresa Benoit
December 13, 2015
Shelburne has lost one of its great characters. Our condolences to Tom's family...
Margo and Matt Callaghan
December 13, 2015
My deepest condolences to Tom's family. Tom was head of security at Trinity where I first meet him. He was always available with a smile and a master key when I managed to lose the key to my office.
Patrick Standen
December 13, 2015
Going to the July 4th auction at SUMC will never be the same. My deepest sympathies to you all. A good, gentle, extremely kind man is now one of God's Angels. RIP Tom, it is my pleasure to have met you.
Kathy Morrison
December 13, 2015
How fondly I remember Tom and his whole family as we lived as neighbors when I first moved to Vermont. Know I am thinking of and praying for everyone as you journey through Tom's passing.
Gwen Bronson
Gwen Bronson
December 13, 2015
To all of Tom's family: He was a super guy and a friend to all. I knew him well from High School on, and he will be missed !
Roger Hammond
December 13, 2015
Joanne, Rick, Candy and Your Families,
I'm thinking of you at this time and hoping wonderful memories of Tom will help you in the days ahead. He left a lasting imprint on this Community and will be truly missed!
Betty Marcher
December 13, 2015
Sheara and I wish to express our deepest sympathy to Tom's family. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Bill Billado
December 13, 2015
My sympathies to Joanne and family. Tom will be missed greatly. I met Tom through B.I.G. and considered him a friend ever since.
Darla champine
December 13, 2015
Joanne and Family,
I am so sorry to read of Tom's death. What a great guy...we had lots of fun working together at Trinity and he was great with the students!
Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you journey through your loss.
Linda Ready
December 13, 2015
Joanne and family, we were so sorry to hear of Toms passing. Cherish the memories and he will always be there.
Lynn and Jack Carlson
December 12, 2015
Tom will be miss .my heart gos out to Christine and Her family
Joanne Newell
December 12, 2015
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