Dr. John C. Besse, age 86, of Birmingham, passed away peacefully at UAB Hospital on December 29, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He was a member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. Dr. Besse earned his PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University where he met his loving and devoted wife of 41 years, Virginia Marie Besse. It was only by chance that this union occurred. Dr. Besse sought out achieving his PhD from Vanderbilt University while Virginia Marie Ozment was forced to go to Vanderbilt University because her father did not like her less than stellar grades from Georgetown University. After they became married, Dr. Besse became employed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a Professor of Pharmacology where he taught for over 37 years and was elevated to Emeritus status. He happened to be an avid LSU and Saints fan and he loved watching football games surrounded by family. He also served as a medic in the US Army where he was stationed in Germany. He was a huge family man who loved spending time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was an accomplished bowler and he played in many of the Birmingham leagues. He was a former President of the American Daylily Society and enjoyed traveling around the southeast as a garden judge. He is preceded in death by his adoring wife of 41 years, Virginia Marie Besse, parents Merlin Anthony and Helen Broussard Besse. He will be sorely missed and survived by his children Nancy Besse Norred-Shanks (Burt), Helen Besse Smith (Edwin), John Kenneth Besse (Becky), grandchildren Monica Marie Robinson, Bailey Anice Avina (Cesar), Kirsten Nichole Robinson, David Edward Norred Jr., Ashley Nicole Norred (Brad Thomas), Crawford Elizabeth Shanks, Courtney Lynn Norred, Emily Taylor Besse, Eric Anthony Besse, John Jackson Besse, great grandchildren Alesandra Iyana Avina, Analisa Rose Avina, Braxton Christopher Thomas, Wyatt James Valles, Grayson Isaac Robinson, and his beloved pet Leo. All whom loved him dearly will never forget his tenacity, wit, charm, grace, tact (when pertinent) and undying love. Chapel services will be held on Saturday, January 11, at Noon at Jefferson Memorial Gardens East.
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