Cover photo for Viola L. Besse's Obituary
Viola L. Besse Profile Photo

Viola L. Besse

February 24, 1918 — December 23, 2021

Viola L. Besse

The Memorial Service will be livestreamed at

Memorial Service for Viola Louetta Besse

11:00 am, Thursday, May 12, 2022

St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Devils Lake, North Dakota

Lunch will follow the service.

Memorials can be given in Mom's memory to the charity of your choice.  

Her full obituary can be found on the Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake, North Dakota website.

Please join us if you are able.

LaMoure and Pat, Austia and Joe, Rick and Jill, Bonnie and Tim


Viola Louetta Besse, age 103, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away Thursday, December 23, 2021, at Sacred Heart Care Center surrounded by family members singing her favorite song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” with guitar and cello accompaniment. 

Viola was born in Crocus, North Dakota to George and Lou Wood. (George Bright McLellan Wood and Margaret Louetta Hart) on February 24, 1918.  She attended grade school in Crocus and graduated from high school in Cando, North Dakota.  She married Clarence (Cass) Arthur Besse on October 27, 1937 and they had four children, LaMoure, Austia, Richard and Bonnie. 

She lived in Crocus, Ellsbury, Starkweather and Devils Lake, North Dakota.  After 4 score and 5 years of living on farms and small towns in North Dakota, she and Cass moved to Austin in 2003 to be closer to family.  She lived at the Cedars until 2015 when she moved to Sacred Heart Care Center.  She was such a joy to others.  She played the piano, smiled, often said, “Thank you” and was content and caring to the end. 

She loved music and when she turned 95, she was honored by the Austin Symphony Orchestra for never having missed a concert since she had moved to Austin.  She also loved flowers, sewing, handiwork, hardanger, crafts, and baking cookies and pies.  She did a great deal of volunteer work in the church and was always faithful in attending.  She was a 4-H leader, member of several book groups, Community Concert Charter Member, member of Homemakers Club and Al-Anon.  Education was very important to her and she has a Viola Besse endowed scholarship through the Riverland Community College Foundation.  But most of all, she was a wonderful wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, great grandma, friend and caretaker.  She was very proud and thankful that she was able to care for her husband and two of her sisters in their old age. 

Viola is survived by her son LaMoure, his wife Pat (McLean), their daughter April Swenson (daughters Rebecca and Lily) and son John; her daughter Austia, her husband Joe Hickey, their son Eliot Lee; her son Richard, his wife Jill (Hines), their daughter Megan, her husband David Glanville (daughters Janie and Briel), son Adam and his wife Jessica (Leong) (son Cameron); her daughter Bonnie, her husband Tim Rietz, their daughter Heidi Kimmel (sons Ethan, Tyler and Levi), their daughter Heather, her husband Jesse Winsell (daughter Nia and son Teague), their daughter Mindy, and her husband Ian Fowler (daughters Vivienne and Viola’s namesake Viola). 

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and all 8 of her siblings. 

A Memorial Service will be held in the summer when family and friends can gather in Devils Lake, North Dakota where she will be buried next to her husband Cass.  Classen Jordan oversees arrangements in Austin and Gilbertson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements in Devils Lake.  Memorials can be given in Viola’s memory to the charity of your choice. 

Her family would like to especially thank the wonderful staff at Sacred Heart Care Center.  They took such excellent and kindhearted care of her and she loved them. 






To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Viola L. Besse, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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