Our friends in the media lost no time getting their licks in when it came to light that Maurice Bessinger had crossed over the proverbial river this past Saturday, 22 February 2014. Compatriot Bessinger was 83 years old. While briefly acknowledging his service in the Korean War and his prosperous barbeque business that employed hundreds of people (which must have been painful), a barrage of name calling commenced.
Apparently—even with the beam in their own eye—they could see clearly enough to enumerate the motes in his … One Charleston newspaper even fantasized about Maurice being barbequed in hell, slathered in his world famous Carolina Gold sauce, for the sins—real or imagined—with which he has been repeatedly charged. On any other day, talk of God, hell, and sin would have been considered offensive Christian ignorance, and perhaps even racist, but even the ethical relativist in the secular humanist press can make exceptions on occasions such as this. Not surprisingly, in a report by WLTX, his family occupied the other side of the theological coin:
We are grateful that he is done with the pain and sadness of this disease [Alzheimer’s Disease] and is now in the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus.
Say what you will, Compatriot Bessinger was not ashamed of who he was and where he came from. It is because of this that nothing he said to explain or expand upon his alleged “racist” views counted. To his credit, he took the initiative to put his own side of the story before the world in his book Defending My Heritage: The Maurice Bessinger Story. This did little to sway his enemies, but at least folks who were interested got to know him as he knew himself; without the neo-yankee information filter of our local occupied press. Bessinger is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara Williams Bessinger, along with two sons, two daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Obituary for Maurice Bessinger
L. Maurice Bessinger, Sr., of West Columbia, entered the presence of his Lord and Saviour on February 22nd, 2014. He is survived by Barbara Williams Bessinger, his loving and devoted wife of sixty-one years; his two sons, Lloyd (Betsy) Bessinger and Paul (Carol) Bessinger; his two daughters, Debbie (Michael) Bennett and Joanna (John) Morgan; grandchildren Tiffany (Brad) Prince, Reese (Kelly) Bessinger, Ryan (Emily) Bessinger, Ashley (John) Wood, Angela Smith, Paul (Kim) Bessinger, Candace Bessinger, Cody Bessinger, Chris (Christina) Bennett, and Carolyn (Peter) Shvetz; eleven great-grandchildren; one sister, Betty Roberts of Charleston, two brothers, Thomas Bessinger and Robert Bessinger, both of Charleston; and many nieces and nephews.
Maurice was the eighth of eleven children born to the late Joseph Jacob and Genora Thomas Bessinger on the family farm near Orangeburg on July 14, 1930. His later childhood and adolescent years were spent in Holly Hill, SC, where he lettered in four high school sports and worked with his father in the family restaurant. After serving three years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he returned to his beloved South Carolina, married, and established Piggie Park Enterprises in Cayce in 1953. He served as president of the South Carolina Restaurant Association in the 1960’s. During the mid-1970’s he accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and was used of the Lord in helping to bring his immediate family and many others to a saving knowledge of Christ. He had a deep burden to see others come to have a personal relationship with Christ and, in 1980, began operating the Lighthouse Mission through which he reached out to many of the less fortunate coming to the Columbia area. Maurice loved his family, the state of South Carolina, Gamecock sports, raising animals on his farm later in life, and cherished being known as “your ole’ Barbeque Buddy.”
The funeral service will be at First Baptist Church of West Columbia at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 27th. Visitation will be held at the Thompson Funeral Home of West Columbia on Wednesday, February 26th, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Honorary pallbearers are David Bogden, Al Fallaw, Harold Finch, James Hamilton, Spruce McCain, Larry Pressler, Rev. Lonnie Shull, Steve Sloan, Richard Stoudemire and Joe White. Serving as pallbearers are his grandsons and husbands of granddaughters.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Juvenile Diabetes of South Carolina, 3608 Landmark Drive, Ste. C, Columbia, SC 29204 or to the Alzheimer’s Association of West Columbia, 3223 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 100, West Columbia, SC 29169. Thompson’s Funeral Home.