Helen Marie “Lynne” Besecker | Lancaster

Helen Marie “Lynne” Besecker, 86, of Lancaster, handed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 one yr to the date after her husband and love of her life, Joseph A. Besecker, MD, died. They shared 63 years collectively.

Lynne (Helen Mae, Mother, Gibby, Lynny, Nanna) met the Lord whereas having her again scratched and caressed by her daughters Suzanne, Kristin, and Karla, all of whom offered the loving care taught to them by their mom. Surrounding her with treasured issues and comforting her along with her favourite music and singing her most beloved songs, Lynne left the world as comfortable as an individual might be, particularly figuring out she was going to be with the Lord, her household and mates that preceded her, however principally as a result of she was going to be reunited along with her Joe.

Moments after she handed, Lancaster County was awash in rainbows and as her pal and surgeon remarked, “She is at peace along with her associate.  What an exit.  That rainbow final night time was a stunner!”

The last word entertainer, Lynne Besecker, the Grand Dame of the Fulton Theater, or as her colleague and pal Edward Fernandez, Ephrata’s Performing Arts Middle Inventive Director, referred to as her, “The Mom of Lancaster Theater”, lived a life like a three-act play, and it was a smash hit.


Born Helen Marie Fetsko on Could 2, 1934. “Lynne” grew up with mother and father Andrew (coal miner and machinist) and Helen (homemaker, songbird, and saint) in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She grew up along with her three brothers; Jack, her oldest brother, Andrew (“Buddy”), and youngest brother, Donald.  The Fetsko household was as shut as a moist night time in August, and as a Despair period household, they spent all their time collectively. “Helen Marie” worshipped her mother and father and adored her superman-like brothers. As a lot as she beloved her household, she made the tough determination to depart her cocoon for the large metropolis of Philadelphia to attend nursing faculty.  As a result of as she mentioned, “A lady didn’t have many decisions at the moment.  They might be a housewife, a secretary, a schoolteacher, or a nurse – I needed to be a nurse.” Lynn enrolled and obtained her RN from the Jefferson Faculty of Nursing in Philadelphia. It was there that the love story of her life’s manufacturing started.

She met a younger good-looking medical scholar from the State School space, Joseph Besecker, fell in love and rapidly acquired married. “When Joe and I acquired married we had twenty-six {dollars} and he was a freshman in medical faculty. I labored as a nurse and he joined the Navy to benefit from its Service for Schooling Reciprocity program,” she mentioned. It wasn’t simple, however as she mentioned “Once I make a dedication it needs to be 100%. I beloved being married and I beloved being a nurse.” Distinctive as a nurse, Lynne was regularly requested for by identify by many docs and sufferers wanting her great care delivered with ability, love and humor.  Quickly after, the 2 began their new ensemble.

Inside quick order, Lynne and Joe created 5 new forged members.

Their first was Jeb (Joseph Edward Besecker), with center identify Edward after Joe’s roommate and lifelong pal Dr. Edward Baranski.

Second son got here shortly thereafter they usually named him Eric. The daughters Suzanne, Kristin and Karla accomplished their casting name, with the twins born within the Naval Hospital in Annapolis, MD, the place Joe served and practiced pediatrics.

Lynne and Joe beloved the Navy and lived on base, after which moved right into a home off base for a number of years. She created a house that was the assembly hub of the neighborhood with children, neighbors and plenty of animals, together with a pack of squirrels she skilled to come back to the door and taught them tips for his or her peanut treats she would feed them on her shoulder. Mother beloved all animals and her properties have been at all times occupied by canines, cats and no matter strays she would rescue. It was there when a neighbor – pricey pal Virginia Droll – taught Mother drive and he or she was so proud to get her driver’s license. There’s not sufficient area for the driving tales, however suffice it to say that Mother was not nice at the whole lot.

A lot to the chagrin of the nice mates they made there, after finishing their service requirement, the forged relocated to Lancaster, PA and moved to 231 E. Orange Avenue. Joe arrange a pediatric observe and labored at Lancaster Normal Hospital. Lynne oversaw the manufacturing that might encompass many skills. Her new present on E. Orange scripted many scenes full of love, laughter, music and meals! It was additionally the start of a long-term relationship along with her beloved St. Anthony of Padua Church, just a few blocks from her house. It was there she might observe her sturdy religion and have them assist educate her understudies (her children) the significance of a powerful religion. Many moments of pleasure and sorrow occurred there. Baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals offered the stage for these necessary moments of Mother’s life. The Saint Anthony’s Faculty educated and fundraised along with her assist. Typically the “Luck of Lynne” would take over, profitable greater than her justifiable share of raffles and enormous bingo jackpots, at all times eliciting a giant smile and the “Gibby Shuffle” – a precursor to the well-known Icky Shuffle that was believed to be based mostly on Lynne’s comfortable dance.

The E. Orange Avenue stage offered many a various function – a Mother, homemaker, volunteer, nurse, and at all times an entertainer and musician. Lynne was an especially gifted musician and was principally self-taught. Whereas she might play something that might make a noise, she excelled on the piano and used that to her benefit to occupy the loopy children. She would play “Flight of the Bumblebee” quicker and quicker whereas her children would race across the piano with glee in an try to run off their excessive vitality. Sometimes Dad would be a part of the youngsters on this wild Besecker custom – solely he ran outta fuel earlier than the youngsters.

She was a caretaker to all at her advanced, even her aged neighbor. She grew to become his finest pal. Lynne was at all times useful to as many household and mates that may want a little bit assist, whether or not it’s a meal, a shoulder or a small mortgage or reward from her “Budka” – a non-public private stash that she made by discovering treasures at Goodwill, a yard sale or public sale. She would flip the treasures into money by promoting these to earn a little bit further money that went a great distance in serving to a household of seven dwelling off of a pediatrician’s new observe with 5 children going to parochial faculty, paying scholar loans and making ends meet for the large household. It was a modern-day alchemy that labored wonders!

That expertise and Joe’s exhausting work enabled them to verify their household had the whole lot they wanted (in addition to some issues they didn’t) and fueled particular journeys to McDonalds, Dairy Queen or Dunkin Donuts – typically one-on-one, offering particular moments in addition to treats to the fortunate child of the day. These reminiscences are most cherished.

Please observe that Mother was not a simple pushover: she dominated with love and plenty of instances with powerful love. Very very like a demanding director, in an effort to guarantee solely the best efficiency, on many an event a childhood pal or relative would go to and remark, “I really like your Mother, however boy – is she powerful,” and we might reply again – “You betcha!”

Helen Marie prolonged that like to all and a number of other instances she added to her forged with kids in want, taking in foster kids that had no different possibility and cared for them till they may discover a house or return to their unique setting. To cite a Lancaster Newspaper article about one such scenario:

When Catholic Social Companies was searching for momentary look after new child twins whose mom needed to stay within the hospital, they thought first of Lynne. Not solely did she dwell close by, have a nurse’s coaching and a pediatrician for a husband however she additionally was herself the mom of twins, two of 5 kids born in simply six years. Lynne couldn’t resist the plea. “I referred to as Joe at his workplace and informed him ‘Carry house a load of diapers, we’re having friends.” When she defined to her puzzled mate {that a} hospital doctor had ordered alternate look after the wholesome twins due to overcrowded hospital circumstances, Dr. Besecker was thunderstruck. “It turned out HE was the one who had given the order to the social employee,” Lynne mentioned, quipping, “He threw the ball and he ended up catching it.” The Besecker’s saved the twins for practically 4 months. “I began to consider myself as their mom,” Lynne admits, noting the inevitable parting was “very painful.” The Besecker’s offered emergency care for 2 extra foster kids earlier than resolving by no means to turn into foster mother and father once more. As one who “loves kids,” Lynne discovered the emotional toll of momentary parenting an excessive amount of to bear.”


After a number of years on E. Orange Avenue Lynne satisfied Joe that they wanted a much bigger playhouse: promising Dad that they might make it work, they moved to 1209 Marietta Avenue – her dream home, a stately brick home with white pillars, many bedrooms and loos and loads of room to fill along with her vintage treasures and yard-sale bargains. Her eclectic style created the “comfy litter” that offered the set for his or her life.

This dream stage created many episodes of eating, vacation bashes, household reunions, weddings, fundraisers, and legendary events, all directed by the “Hostess with the Mostess.” The enjoyment of the family was crafted by her they usually have been all each loopy and comfy occasions which can be seared within the reminiscences of fellow workers, household and mates.

Household was the epicenter of her house – and it was a house to all. Sometimes it grew to become an old style card parlor the place very aggressive card video games – principally gin rummy – with Mother taking house the large prize, laughing with that twinkle in her eye as she took your change with the steely coronary heart of an murderer. Regardless of her prowess, most would depart their keep saying they beloved the home they usually beloved Mother – all of us did.

One among Mother’s favourite issues was her tight-knit group of mates – a few of whom shaped a band to play and sing for others at these occasions. Two of that group – Dr. Al Schultz and his spouse Peggy – satisfied Mother to audition for a group theater present. Shaking like a leaf and after many toilet visits, Lynne was chosen at her first audition which was the beginning of a brand new profession in appearing. She made the forged of the Kiwanis Membership’s presentation of Mame. Her star rose rapidly and shined in lots of native productions on this part of her life.

Lynne as soon as mentioned when interviewed, “In fact I’m prejudiced however I feel group theater is one other type of public service and public service is terrific. It’s what I used to be put right here for!” Certainly, she was – and that service introduced pleasure, laughter and tears to a numerous variety of her followers. She touched her household and mates and even strangers along with her over-the-top performances, and made many life-long mates. Her household might hardly go anyplace on the town: when upon somebody discovering out you have been associated you heard “I really like her – she is one of the best.”

Nonetheless, her largest fan was her husband Joe, typically sitting within the entrance row laughing, clapping and whistling with approval on the finish of the present. The 2 then hosted many a forged get together that have been as a lot enjoyable because the manufacturing itself and created many lasting reminiscences in addition to relationships that adopted them all through the years.

However as large a star as she grew to become, her finest efficiency was at house the place she starred within the roles of Spouse, Mother, Sister, Aunt, Mom-in-Regulation, Grandmother, Nice Grandmother and Good friend. In these performances, she rose to superstardom. Whether or not it’s instructing life classes to her three daughters or making one of the best sandwiches and dinner for her two boys and their mates, Lynne, as said earlier, was dedicated: she gave one-hundred % to her household and their circle they usually at all times gave her rave evaluations.

Lynne was an early riser and beloved nothing greater than peace and quiet along with her espresso and a cigarette, and regardless of her kids’s admonishment she would proclaim she beloved to smoke and maybe use some salty language when arguing her level. Nonetheless, within the late 1980’s she and her theater pal and Gap within the Wall puppeteer Robbie Broucht went to a bunch hypnosis session, and when she returned house, she claimed it was all “B.S.” Extremely, Mother by no means smoked a cigarette once more, proving that Mother was not at all times proper.

And whereas a powerful lady, Lynne was loopy nervous about sure issues just like the climate. Her Gibby days have been filled with panicked cellphone calls warning of the subsequent pending climate catastrophe. That trait earned her the well-deserved nickname of Accu Mother. Mother additionally had an incredible worry of flying – considerably odd since her brother Jack was a check pilot. Driving rapidly was additionally towards the Gibby Credo: whereas she was not a stellar driver herself, she felt compelled to threaten to name the police on her personal kids if she suspected they have been going a bit over the velocity restrict (Eric). That concern prolonged to her sons- and daughters-in-law as nicely – who she beloved deeply as her personal. Her stern warnings had the specified impact on most however not all (Suzie).


In her ultimate act, Lynne targeted on what grew to become a a lot bigger ensemble. Daughters Karla and Kristin married and had households. Karla married John Goldbach who rapidly grew to become an integral a part of the household. They’d daughter Julia (who carried out along with her Gibby within the Fulton manufacturing of The Sound of Music). Sons Kurt, Erik and Mark all have been a giant a part of the Gibby and Poppy Present, as have been Kristin, who additionally adopted in her mom’s footsteps and have become a nurse, married Joe Gaenzle, and collectively added daughter Erika and sons Andrew and Joseph to the fast-growing forged of characters. The final forged members to hitch have been nice grandkids Isabella, Lilah, Joey, all Erika’s kids; and Andrew added Aleiah Grace and Callum.

A particular not-just-son-in-law Joe Gaenzle was a lot extra for too many causes to say. Together with, in Mother’s final days, he supplied her a grand gesture and climbed a two-story ladder to sing to her by her bed room window.

Daughter Suzanne adopted her mom’s instance and have become an distinctive nurse, even working as a hospice nurse – demonstrating the center of her mom whereas administering with the brains of her father.

Son Eric and his spouse Susanne produced two main girls – Delaney and Haleigh.

And son Jeb married Martha Kettler and had a marriage that featured the Mummers from Philadelphia – creating one of many biggest dances Lynne would ever carry out – a strut along with her husband, children and household that might win a standing ovation from even the hardest South Philly critic. Their 4 kids – Jeb, John, Liam and Lily – have tried by the years to copy the Gibby Strut – however thus far, no luck.

With the addition of so many to the clan, now Gibby and Poppy took on new roles in addition to reverting to outdated scripts.

One factor that remained constant from the inception: Mother was an individual of contact. Mother used to pay for her kids to scratch her again or brush her hair. She typically handed out quarters for finishing that job – her oldest Jeb having at all times gotten a greenback as a result of he carried out the required process at its highest stage. The custom nevertheless was reciprocated and named “The Scratch.” Her daughter-in-law Martha wrote the next piece:

The Scratch

Each Besecker is aware of about “The Scratch”. As a matter of reality, anybody who walked by the Besecker kitchen could have skilled “The Scratch”. Whether or not it’s a lightweight tickly movement up and down an arm resting on the kitchen desk subsequent to her or a beautiful head therapeutic massage with fingers working by hair or possibly it was the loving stroke of her superbly manicured fingers softly, rhythmically shifting up and down a again; her muscle of reminiscence of this extremely tender gesture stayed along with her till the very finish. It was as if her love and vitality flowed out of her exquisitely gifted fingertips to the fortunate son, daughter, relative or pal who remained silent and immobile of so long as she would work her delicate magic. And if you happen to weren’t lucky sufficient to expertise “The Scratch” firsthand; if you happen to have been a baby in her presence; you too would have felt these gifted palms caressing both facet of your face, eyes twinkling, solely to listen to her say in her inimitable manner, “You’re bee-u-tee-ful” or “iiii love!”.

Because the years progressed well being points began to remove family and friends and at all times the consummate nurse and caretaker to numerous family and friends, she would cheer them up with hugs, phrases and track. pal, Judy Ware, shared one fond reminiscence: “When Michael Mitchell from the Fulton was within the hospital and he or she and I have been visiting him with some others who got here with flowers and playing cards. I as a substitute introduced a bowl piled excessive with cherries. She instantly took the bowl and began singing “Life is only a bowl of cherries…” as she danced the bowl across the room passing out the cherries. The consummate entertainer!  What a woman!”

That was till life modified gears and the nurse grew to become the affected person. A battle with breast most cancers was first and whereas that prognosis was favorable, the physique scans carried out at the moment confirmed indicators of brewing plaque within the mind indicating Alzheimer’s was possible within the wings. Mother battled breast most cancers with the dedication that she at all times confirmed as a Wilkes Barre tough-as-nails coal-cracker. Glorious care from her Lancaster Normal specialists and her normal practitioner Dr. William Bakken helped Gibby thrive within the following tough years.

Nonetheless, it was the unimaginable cruelty of Alzheimer’s, the gradual erosion of thoughts and physique, that challenged this quick-thinking extremely smart lady. With the assistance of her household – principally her daughters and with nice extra assist from her in-laws, particularly Joe Gaenzle who helped Kristin and the remainder of the household and was as devoted to his “Sally” as if she was his personal mom.

Mother and Dad’s instance of offering nice care and people classes have been sorely wanted when Dad developed mind most cancers after which wanted assist to look after his love – which he had been doing for a few years. The sisters led the cost with the remainder of the household, and mates pitched into look after them each. After battling the mind tumor, it had seemed like Dad was on a very good path – problems nevertheless occurred and after an extended hospitalization Joe handed away on August 4, 2019. Lynne’s battle lasted only one yr to the date longer when she joined her husband once more – one thing they actually desired.

Mother was not afraid to die (though my Uncle Jack examined that when he took her up in his airplane or helicopter) and as a matter of reality she embraced it. Her religion led her to imagine it was the best way to Everlasting Life and happiness.

Whereas the circle of household and mates are crushed, we will solely image Dad, her brothers, mother and father and her many mates gathering to greet her. We envision a combo enjoying loudly one in all her favourite songs to sing along with her band – and they’d be belting out Good day Dolly: “Good day, Lynny, oh Good day, Gibby, it’s so good to have you ever again the place you belong. You’re trying swell Lynny, we will inform, Gibby, you’re nonetheless glowing, you’re nonetheless rising, you’re nonetheless going sturdy…”

Helen Marie “Lynne” Gibby Besecker was at all times trying swell, rising, and at all times going sturdy. In order the ultimate curtain comes down on this particular woman, we have to have fun, and as exhausting as it’s whereas we’re full of grief, we should always as a substitute give her one final standing ovation as a result of along with her loving it – she definitely deserved it.

Given the present surroundings, the household has chosen to conduct companies a number of weeks from now. The tentative dates can be a Memorial and visitation on Friday, August 28th 5pm-9pm at The Emerald Basis 2120 Oregon Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601 with a Mass of Christian Burial following on Saturday, August 29th at 10:00am at St. Anthony of Padua Church 501 E. Orange St. Lancaster, PA 17602. Crucial: These are tentative preparations and are topic to alter.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions could also be made in Helen’s reminiscence to the Fulton Theater 12 N. Prince St. Lancaster, PA 17603 or Ephrata Performing Arts Middle 320 Cocalico St. Ephrata, PA 17522 or Emerald Basis 2120 Oregon Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601.

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