Robert and Carolyn Bessey
will lead off this year’s light
parade down Manti Main St.
By Max Higbee
Nov. 23, 2017
MANTI—Bob and Carolyn Bessey will be the Grand Marshals of the 2017 Manti Light Parade this Friday.
Both of the Besseys are Manti natives and have lived most of their lives here, seeing the city grow and change over the decades.
“We were both born in our homes,” Carolyn relates. “He was born on 4th North and Main Street. I was born at home near the park. We were both delivered by a midwife—it was back in the days.”
Bob lived in Manti all through his childhood.
Carolyn, however, moved to New Mexico with her family when she was five years old. Her father made parachutes during World War II. After the war ended, he did the same thing as the company moved him around the country.
Carolyn says, pointing to her husband, “He was friends with my older brother, and so our families have been friends for a long time.”
Bob has only lived outside of Manti three times in his life. The first time was during his service with the military. The second was during his time at Utah State, where he completed his degree after starting it at Snow College. Following that, he taught at Kearns Junior High School near Salt Lake City.
After returning to Manti, he taught math, science, and business part-time at both Manti High School and Gunnison Valley High School. Soon, he was teaching full-time only for Manti High, where he spent the rest of his 29-year teaching career.
The Besseys raised their four children here in town—Lisa, Dianne, Eric and Susan.
Bob has kept sheep on the side for years and continues to maintain a herd of 715 head of sheep.
The couple has spent their adult lives in the service of the public. Bob has served as Manti’s mayor as well as on its city council and served as Sanpete County Commissioner for 14 years.
For her part, Carolyn served as the head librarian of the Manti Library for nearly 21 years.
“We’ve been emergency medical technicians, we’ve been on the fair board …” Bob says before Carolyn cuts in.
“We’ve been on every board,” she laughs. “We’ve actually been the judges of the light parade for probably 10 years, and before we did that, my sister and I used to always do a float for the Ladies’ Literary Club and the library.”