Ronald Norman Bessemer passed away at 7:40 P.M. on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, in Hillsboro. Ron was born on August 16, 1937, in Chicago. He was the son of Gottlieb Bessemer and Ilona (Marcus) Bessemer. Ron was married to Arlas King of Mt. Olive and she survives.
Ron is also survived by his brother, Eric Bessemer; his children, Matt, Laura, Steve and Brad Bessemer; as well as his stepsons, Matt and Boyd Ballard; and two foster sons, Joe Martin and Roberto Pelayo. Ron had nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Ron began wrestling in high school which he continued through several years on the All-Europe Army Wrestling team where he beat the then Russian World Champion then later an eventual 3rd place finish in the U.S. Olympic trials in 1960.
After the Army, Ron earned his master’s degree in education and continued coaching wrestling from little kid’s local clubs, scholastic teams including in Mt. Olive, and three World U.S. National teams all over the world. It would be hard to estimate his influence on wrestling nationally as he coached dozens upon dozens of wrestlers who won multiple individual National Championships then became coaches themselves.
His recognitions include National Junior College Region IV Coach of the Year 1973, USA Wrestling Western regional Developmental Coach of the year 1995, USA Everett Wrestling Hall of Fame Charter Member 2001, Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association, Hall of Fame 2003, and National Wrestling Hall of Fame 2007.
He lived his life as a stellar yet humble individual and gave his time freely to students of fitness, athletics and wrestling without ending.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021, between 1:30 and 3:30 P.M. at the Zion Lutheran Church in Mt. Olive. The service will be followed by a reception and meal. Becker and Son Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.