Jack Lee Bresee
ONEONTA — Jack Lee Bresee, 88, of Oneonta, passed away on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at Bassett Healthcare, in Cooperstown.
Jack was born on March 23, 1925, in Binghamton, the son of the late Bert E. and Letha (Cooper) Bresee.
He attended Bugbee School in Oneonta, and was a graduate of Oneonta High School in 1942. After high school, Jack entered the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen School at Cornell University in Ithaca. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, aboard the Light Cruiser Providence (CL82), as a Gunnery Officer in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. After completing his Naval Service Jack returned to Union College, in Schenectady, graduating in 1947. At Union, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and later of the Union Garnet Society. After graduation Jack entered into business with his father at BEB Products, a mail order company.
Jack met Janet Jean Westlund (originally from Decatur, Ill.,) Physical Education and a Dance Instructor at SUNY Oneonta. On Aug. 24, 1952, he and Janet were married in the Little Church Around the Corner in New York City.
In 1960, he opened The Golden Rooster Gift Shop, on Main Street in Oneonta. With the store’s slogan being “As Usual, the Unusual” it was known by locals for its unique inventory. In Oneonta, Jack was a past president of the Downtown Merchants Association, a member of the Jr. Chamber of Commerce, and later the Chamber of Commerce. He was one of the first Chairman of the Fresh Air Fund, and was active in both the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA organizations. During this time Jack also graduated from The Dale Carnegie Course, and served as a graduate assistant for two years.
Pursuing his interest in politics Jack was elected to the Otsego County Board of Supervisors in 1966. Later he became the Chairman of the Reorganization Committee, which became the new County Board of Supervisors. Elected for five consecutive terms, Jack was the Chairman of the Board during his last three years of service.
After selling The Golden Rooster Gift Shop in 1982, his retirement was short-term as he was asked to consult various local retail businesses. Also, he was a director of the Oneonta Federal Savings and Loan Association, and later at Astoria Federal Savings in Oneonta.
Jack enjoyed golfing, bowling, fishing, playing cards, and hunting for local Native American artifacts. Along with his interests he was a member of many local organizations including: Lifetime Member BPO Elks 1312, American Legion Post 259 (over 60 years), VFW Post 487, Oneonta High School Alumni Committee, Director of the Friends of Huntington Memorial Library and past president, Mid-Week Musings Book Club, past president of the Gutter Duster Bowling League, past president and first honorary lifetime member of the Little Delaware Fishing Club, Four County Library Board, All County Citizens Board, Executive Service Corps, and was recognized as Outstanding Citizen by the Jr. Chamber of Commerce.
In his early years, he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Oneonta, where he served on the Board of Trustees and was a past president. In Jack’s later years, he joined the First Church of Christ Scientist in Oneonta.
Jack is survived by his wife of 61 years, Janet Bresee; daughter, Bonnie Lee (William) Lado; son, Bret Ernst Bresee (Wendy Alley); grandson, Ryan Westlund Naatz; granddaughter, Tasha Lee Naatz; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by all four older sisters and their husbands, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Clay Chamberlain (Thelma) from Hyde Park on the Hudson, Mr. and Mrs. George Terpenning (Virginia) of Pennsylvania, Mr. and Mrs. John Bookhout (Betty) of Arizona, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Bates (Jean) of Connecticut.
Jack was an avid reader, and he believed that nothing was better than a good book, except for the companionship of his friends and family.
Calling hours will be noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, at the Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta.
He will be laid to rest next spring, in the family burial plot in Glenwood Cemetery in Oneonta.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820 or the Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to www.lhpfuneralhome.com.