Published in The State on Sept. 20, 2018
Dolores I. Brist Besley 18 "Dinky"
Dolores Besley COLUMBIA - After a rich, blessed life, with family
members at her side, Dolores Besley, died peacefully on September
17, 2018 at age 87.
Born on December 12, 1930 in McKendree, Maryland, Dolores was
the only child of the late George L. and Gladys C. Brist. Dolores grew
up in Washington, DC, Graduated from McKinley Tech High
School (1948) in Washington DC later moving to University Park,
Maryland, an idyllic town near the University of Maryland in College
Although she was only 15, as soon as she met the boy across the street (Bob Besley), she
knew she had found the love of her life. They became sweethearts and while Bob served the
country during World War II, she finished high school. Dolores then joined Bob at the University
of Maryland, studied elementary education and became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. On
August 26, 1950,
Dolores happily became Mrs. Besley. She was a dedicated wife and a source of unfailing
support when Bob became an FBI Agent and was assigned to several locations requiring
moves. In 1962, an FBI transfer allowed Dolores and Bob to return to University Park, Maryland
and settle into a house on the street where they had met. Dolores loved having the opportunity
to raise her four children for the next ten years across the street from her parents and with other
relatives close by.
Shortly after another FBI transfer in 1973 to Columbia, South Carolina, Dolores got involved
with local tennis and became a valuable part of several tennis leagues. She was passionate
about tennis and a fierce competitor. In 1974, Dolores opened a tennis store near Trenholm
Plaza named Lob N' Volley and enjoyed the retail side of the sport she loved. For the next 35
years, Dolores played competition-level tennis in Columbia and was known for her wicked left-
handed swing, often playing number 1 on teams against opponents 30-40 years younger. At the
age of 75, Dolores represented South Carolina at the Southeastern United States Senior
Tournament as a singles player. Dolores eventually switched from tennis to competitive putt-putt
at Wildewood Downs Retirement Community. She also served as President of the Independent
Living Council at Wildewood Downs and was a member of Spring Valley Presbyterian Church.
Dolores was extremely creative and loved the challenge of all craft and home-decorating
projects. Creating things and redecorating were life-long hobbies and she was always working
on something. There was nothing she couldn't do. Her sewing skills and needlework were
flawless. She could paint rooms, wallpaper, hang light fixtures and do light carpentry, among
other things. She especially loved to make things for people, and everyone she cared for has
many treasured items she made especially for them. Dolores truly excelled at being a mother
and a grandmother.
Her life's work was focused on creating a positive home life and nurturing environment for her
family. She instinctively knew what each of her children, and eventually her grandchildren,
needed. She was supportive and giving, encouraging each family member's talents, interests
and accomplishments. She was so proud of the family she helped create.
Those left to share and cherish Dolores' love and legacy are her daughters Barbara Bracey
(Dennis) and Joan Revson (Frank), sons Robert "Bob" Besley, Jr. (Sandy) and William "Bill"
Besley (Sharon); seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
In addition to her parents, Dolores is preceded in death by her childhood sweetheart and
husband of 66 years, Robert "Bob" Kirkland Besley.
A funeral service celebrating Dolores' life will be held at 11 o'clock, Friday, September 21,
2018 at Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, 7600 Trenholm Road Ext, Columbia.
The family will receive friends prior to the service beginning at 10 o'clock.
A private family burial will be held at Fort Jackson National Cemetery.
The Besley family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the direct care and supervisory
staffs of Wildewood Downs Long Term Care for their attentiveness and compassion during the
three years Dolores was a resident. The Besleys are also appreciative of the kindness and
support of The Lighthouse Hospice Group during Dolores' final months of life.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made in Dolores Besley's memory to
Spring Valley Presbyterian Church, 120 Sparkleberry Lane Columbia, SC 29223; Lighthouse
Hospice, 110 Oak Park Drive Unit C, Irmo, South Carolina 29063; or the charity of your choice.
Memories and condolences may be shared at ShivesFuneralHome.com
Shives Funeral Home, Inc. - Trenholm Road Chapel
7600 Trenholm Road
Columbia, SC 29223