Ronald Norman Bessemer

August 16, 1937 ~ September 14, 2021 (age 84)


Ronald Norman Bessemer

Ronald Norman Bessemer passed away at 7:40 P.M. on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021, in Hillsboro, Ill.

Ron was born on August 16th, 1937, in Chicago, Ill. 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.


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

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 23rd, 2021, between 1:30 and 3:30 P.M. at the Zion Lutheran Church in Mt. Olive Ill. The service will be followed by a reception and meal.

Becker and Son Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Anyone wanting to leave an online condolence may do so at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ronald, please visit our floral store.


October 23, 2021

1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Zion Lutheran Church
500 S. Old Route 66
Mt. Olive, IL 62069

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