Alan W. Besse, 74, of Fairfield, PA, died on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at SpiriTrust Lutheran, The Village at Gettysburg in Gettysburg, PA.. Born February 23, 1945 in Massachusetts, he was the son of the late Neil and Beverley (Wilson) Besse. He was the husband of Barbara (Crum) Besse.
Alan was raised with his brother Keith on a farm in Howard County, MD. He was a straight A student, winning the Maryland state science fair before graduating Glenelg High School in 1963. Alan attended Virginia Polyechnic Institute, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1967. He began work for Bell Laboratories, and completed a Master’s degree in electrical engineering at Ohio State University in June 1968. He returned to northern New Jersey, beginning a family and communicating with his parents in Brazil via ham radio.
At Bell Labs, Alan was the lead developer of our nation’s first anti-ballistic missile system. He next joined Teledyne Brown Engineering and moved to Huntsville Alabama to work among defense contractors involved in missile technology. Alan became a nationally recognized expert in ICBM radar tracking, and often found himself at federal installations relating to aerospace defense. He would recall happily his trips to Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific where he tracked incoming test-fired missiles with ‘down-time’ on perfect beaches. He began his own company, Delta Engineering, before a near-fatal car accident prompted his return to family on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Alan was proud to work at his family’s business, Sapphire Engineering, while raising his children on Cape Cod and remaining active in his town’s Planning Board, Appeals Board, and his local church. He retired to the warmer weather of South Carolina and enjoyed traveling and attending church with his wife Barbara.
Alan loved working all sorts of puzzles, and was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. He adored sailing, owning four sailboats in his life and sailing them in the lakes of the Tennessee Valley, the Gulf of Mexico, and throughout the waters of southern New England.
Surviving, in addition to his wife Barbara, are son, Neil Besse and wife Adriana of California; daughter, Paige Besse and husband Gordon of New Hampshire; brother, Keith Besse and wife Isabel of Massachusetts; grandchildren, Calvin, Roxanne, Mateo and Emily, and several other extended family members.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home, 210 W. Main St., Emmitsburg, MD with the Rev. John Talcott officiating. Burial will follow at Emmitsburg Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 12 p.m. until the time of the service on Thursday at the funeral home.
To send flowers to Alan's family, please visit our floral section.