Royal C. "Roy" Bessire, 80, of Hewitt, passed away Friday, May 13, 2011, at his residence, surrounded by his loving family. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday at Aderhold Funeral Home Chapel in West, with the Rev. Don Elrod officiating. Private Family graveside services will follow at the Old Lebanon Cemetery near Aquilla. The family will receive visitors 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Mr. Bessire was born March 6, 1931, in Gholson, the son of Chester Arthur and Mary Hazel (Herring) Bessire. Immediately after graduation, he enlisted into the United States Coast Guard. He served his country for 26 years, advancing to the rank of Master Chief. He retired from the Coast Guard in October of 1973. During his military career, Roy attended the University of Miami, New York City College and the University of South Alabama, earning an Associate Degree in Accounting. He then returned to Waco where he was employed as a general and plant accountant for Huck Manufacturing Company. He took early retirement at age 55 and went to work for KXXV-TV as a controller and worked there until 1995 when the television station was sold. He continued to work for the parent company, Shamrock Broadcasting of Burbank, Calif., as a consultant and retired again in 1996. On May 28, 1989, he was united in marriage to Barbara Bauer in Lorena. After his retirement, he devoted himself to genealogy, becoming a very active member of the Central Texas Genealogy Society and Hill County Genealogy Society. He also restored the Old Lebanon Cemetery in Hill County, where his ancestors are buried and did the research for a historical marker there. Roy also formed a very successful cemetery association. He continued to be involved in cemeteries in McLennan and Hill counties. Roy also enjoyed playing golf. He was a member of the Lebanon United Methodist Church and was very active in several areas of the church. Roy had a large circle of friends. All who knew and worked with him were aware of the love and dedication he gave to the special interests closest to his heart. He thought Texas was the best place on earth. He loved God, his family and the Dallas Cowboys.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a twin brother, Loyal; and a sister, Fannie Willingham.

Survivors include his loving and devoted wife, Barbara Bessire of Hewitt; a son, Keith Thomas of Winder, Ga.; five daughters, Linda Tumillo and husband, Pete, of Carmel, N.Y., Cindy Knapek and husband, Eugene, of West, Carol Riggs of Hewitt, Michele Connell and husband, Derek, and Kimberly Hawkins and husband, Chris, all of China Spring; a sister, Joyce Langdon and husband, Bob; a step-brother, Joe Terry; two step-sisters, Berynic Brown and Billie Terry; two sisters-in-law, Judith McMillon and Nancy Swinney; a brother-in-law, William Bauer; 10 grandchildren, Tammy Knoblauch, Terry Thomas, Thomas Riggs, Christopher Riggs, Trevor Thomas, Dylan Connell, Tristan Hawkins, Paige Knapek, Allison Hawkins, and Michael Thomas; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

The family would like to give special thanks to MD Anderson for all the care Roy received during his fight against lymphoma and for the love and support they received from Bluebonnet Hospice during his final weeks.

Memorials may be made to the Old Lebanon Cemetery, c/o Betty Jo Veteto, P.O. Box 297, Valley Mills, TX. 76689.