E. Marie “GiGi” Besancon was born June 22, 1923, in Machias, Maine, the daughter of Clifford Tracy and Rachel Reynolds Thompson. She died March 29, 2018, in New Marlborough.
Marie was raised in Jonesport, Maine, and graduated from Jonesport High School in 1942. She worked as postmistress at the Jonesport post office where she met Fred while he was stationed in the Navy. This is where they claimed to have “invented” playing post office. She married Frederick J. Besancon Sr. Nov. 22, 1944.
Marie and Fred built their house together in Otis and raised their two children, Anne-Marie Besancon and Frederick J. Besancon Jr. They lived in Otis and were married for 65 years until Fred died June 6, 2009.
She worked at Otis Ridge Ski Area for over 60 years as the bookkeeper and made many friends throughout the years. She was active in the Otis Congregational Church and was involved in many fundraising groups for the church, the town and missions programs and church suppers. She was a Sunday-school teacher and a member of the Kiwaniannes club. She served as the collector of lunch money at the Otis Consolidated School for many years and, at Halloween, the Besancon house was a staple for Otis children to visit and they would give out hundreds of bags of candy each year. She and Fred were active in community-based programs that helped feed people in need, with a special thought to the holiday times. She was passionate about her flower gardens and enjoyed raising dahlias and roses each year. She enjoyed baking, cooking, vegetable gardening and playing cards as well as traveling the country to explore and visit family. She loved hosting parties to celebrate every birthday and holiday and had a strong faith in God.
After her husband died, she began living with both her daughter and granddaughter in Otis and New Marlborough. She enjoyed being part of all of the events in both households including going to her great-grandson’s school events and games, birthday parties, plays, dinners and concerts, and was an active part of two households. She was a sweet woman who never changed throughout her dementia and she died peacefully and gently with her family all around her, very well taken care of and very well-loved. She adored all of her family and loved to spoil her grandchildren and great-grandchild; there was nothing she wouldn’t do to make them happy. She will be missed by many.
She leaves her daughter, Anne-Marie Besancon and Paul Adams of Otis; her granddaughter Christine and John Christinat and great-grandson Jacob Christinat, all of New Marlborough; and her grandson Justin Besancon and daughter-in-law Patience Besancon, both of Ruidoso, New Mexico. She also leaves her faithful companion, Max the Yorkie, whose name she never forgot even when she didn’t know her own.
GiGi was cared for by many friends, family and caregivers, and special thanks goes to all of them for helping to make it possible for her to stay at home.
She was predeceased by one brother, Winslow Tracy, in 2008; her husband, Frederick J. Besancon Sr., in 2009; and her son, Frederick J. Besancon Jr. (FreddyJo), in 2001. She was also predeceased by four half brothers, all of Maine, and leaves many nephews and nieces.
A funeral to celebrate Marie’s life will be Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church of Lee. A graveside service will follow, at which both Marie and Fred will be interred at the Otis Cemetery.
Donations in her memory could be made to HospiceCare in the Berkshires, New Marlborough Fire & Ambulance, Otis Rescue Squad, or any local food bank.