Joseph Bester (U.S. Air Force Retired Colonel) thumbnail

Joseph Bester (U.S. Air Force Retired Colonel)

August 25, 1938 - July 22, 2019

On Sunday, July 21st, Joseph “Joe” Donald Bester, beloved husband and father, passed away at age 80.

 

He grew up in Cardale, PA a small, coal mining town, and was the son of the late Frances Jaszak and Joseph Bester, brother to the late Joanne Sanford and Bernadette Sumego. Joe was the last surviving me…read more

On Sunday, July 21st, Joseph “Joe” Donald Bester, beloved husband and father, passed away at age 80.

 

He grew up in Cardale, PA a small, coal mining town, and was the son of the late Frances Jaszak and Joseph Bester, brother to the late Joanne Sanford and Bernadette Sumego. Joe was the last surviving member of his family and missed them greatly.  A Loretta Lynne fan, he often described himself as ‘the brother of a coal miner’s daughter’, and spoke proudly of his Polish upbringing and ancestry.

 

Joe had a distinguished twenty-eight year career in the U.S. Air Force.  His tours included Westover AFB in MA, McCoy AFB in Orlando FL, SAC HQ in Omaha NE, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. His final tour was on the International Military Staff at NATO in Brussels, Belgium.  A decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, he served as an Electronic Warfare Officer on B52 crews in the 306th Bomb wing out of Guam and from other bases in the region.  He spent the Cuban Missile crisis in a scrambled B52 selflessly serving his country.  In 1986, after he left the Air Force, he worked on the B2 “Stealth” Bomber program at Northrup in Downey, CA.  In 1994, he retired to the mountains of Western North Carolina where Liz had grown up as child.

 

With the end of the Cold War Joe was finally able to visit a free Poland. In retirement he renewed his interest in woodworking and discovered a completely new passion:  photography. He spent many happy days in DuPont State Forest and his own backyard photographing waterfalls, white squirrels and his grandchildren. His photographs won numerous awards, were published locally and he enjoyed many years as a member of the Hendersonville Camera Club.  Joe also appreciated countless breakfasts at the Dutch Cupboard in Etowah, where he and his other retired buddies were regulars.

 

Joe is survived by his wife of 51 years, Elizabeth “Liz”, his daughter Marlo Bester; his son Brad Bester; and four grandchildren, Franklin, Nate, Ethan, and Abby Bester.

 

The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. on Friday, July 26, 2019 at Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Home. The memorial service and burial will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

 

The family is very grateful for the wonderful care provided by Four Seasons Hospice and the kind staff at Carolina Reserve of Laurel Park.

 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Joe’s memory to: Four Seasons Hospice, 571 S. Allen Rd., Flat Rock, NC 28731 or Shriner’s Hospital for Children (www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org).

 

 

 

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Service Information

Visitation Information

Date: Friday, July 26, 2019

Time: 6:00 pm

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Home

125 S. Church Street
Hendersonville, NO 28793

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