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Richard J. Bissette, Anita Bechard Bissette 

1923-2014, 1921-2014, Waterbury

A military funeral service for the late Richard J. Bissette and Anita Bechard Bissette will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, at the Vermont Veterans' Cemetery at 487 Furnace Road, Randolph Center. All are welcome; the service will be held rain or shine, so come prepared. Family and friends are also invited to a 2 p.m. farewell gathering in Richard and Anita's memory at the Three Stallion Inn, 655 Stock Farm Road, Randolph.

WWII and Korean War vet retired Sergeant Major Richard Joseph Bissette (born October 21, 1923) died at the University of Vermont Medical Center, after a blameless accidental fall, one week to the day after his 91st birthday (died October 28, 2014). One of 12 children born to Irene Devino and Joseph Bissette in Essex, Richard was married for 66 years to Anita Bissette, who passed away 46 days after Richard's death. Richard is survived by sons Richard Jr. and Stephen Bissette and daughter Kathie Bissette-Szeredy and their spouses; many siblings; and too many nieces, nephews and grandchildren to name.

Richard joined the U.S. Coast Guard on February 28, 1942, at age 17, joined the Marines in 1946, and then joined the Vermont National Guard, serving as part of the U.S. Army 43rd division during the Korean War, and thereafter stayed in the Vermont Guard for 23 years. Richard was a lineman for Green Mountain Power and owned and operated the Eagle Oil heating oil company, Duxbury, and Bissette's Market, Colbyville, until he and Anita “retired” to North Port, Fla., in 1976, where he was an active member of the local Catholic church, American Legion and VFW communities. Never one to slow down, he became safety officer for Sarasota County Public Schools Transportation Dept. until April 1989 and continued working well into his 80s. His final days in Vermont were spent visiting family and friends — and making new friends — to the end.

Anita Bechard Bissette (born July 4, 1921) died at age 93 peacefully in her own room at the home of her daughter Kathie (died December 13, 2014) in Meridianville, Ala. One of 10 children born to Elzema Fortin Bechard and Joseph Bechard, Anita grew up in Kings Bay, N.Y. and graduated from Plattsburgh Business Institute, Plattsburgh, N.Y. in 1940, worked in banking in Burlington and as a bookkeeper. She was the last of her immediate family circle to pass away and is survived by sons Richard Jr. and Stephen Bissette and daughter Kathie Bissette-Szeredy and their spouses, and too many nieces, nephews and grandchildren to name.

She and Richard Bissette were wed on November 13, 1948, and spent their lives together, married 66 years. They moved to Essex Junction in the early 1950s and to the Duxbury/Waterbury area in 1961. With her husband, Richard, Anita co-owned, co-managed and did all accounting and bookkeeping for the Eagle Oil heating oil company, Duxbury, and Bissette's Market, Colbyville, until she and Richard retired to North Port, Fla., in 1976, where they lived together until the summer of 2014. Anita was active in the local Catholic church, American Legion and VFW communities well into her 80s. Her granddaughter Maia Rose Bissette wrote to Anita during her final days, saying, “I am so proud to be a part of you and your lineage, and that the strength and thoughtfulness you passed on to us has helped guide us through the years ... you are a strong and graceful woman and I ... thank you for all you have given and all you have sacrificed for us.”

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