Oakland-Joan Besse, 86, passed away at her residence on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 .\r\nJoan Besse was born in 1929 to Mildred (Fields) Besse and Carroll Besse. Joan can trace her ancestry directly to Stephen Hopkins, who arrived in America in 1620, aboard the Mayflower.\r\nJoan's love of horses was apparent to anyone who knew her. Her equestrian exposure began at the age of 8 when she attended the Katharine Ridgeway Summer Camp on Clary Lake in Jefferson ME.\r\nShe continued her riding when she attended Oak Grove Academy, in Vassalboro and graduated in 1948. She then continued her equestrian training at Stephens College in Columbia Missouri. Joan was presented the Senior Award Silver Cup for her work with horses and graduated with an Associates of Arts Degree in 1950. From there Joan enrolled in Michigan State University and was awarded a degree in Business Administration in 1953. She was a member of the Block & Bridle Club at Michigan State. After graduation she began working in the family business of Besse Osborne & O'Dell in Boston as the general manager of sales and buyer of leather. In 1978 Joan moved the office to Besse Brothers Inc. in Clinton ME and took over the management of the company.\r\nIn Maine Joan continued her equestrian dressage training. In 1990, her instructor, Michael Poulin won the USET National Intermediate I Dressage Championship riding Joan's horse, Lighten Up Jack.\r\nJoan served as the President of the Central Maine Garden Club from 1995 through 1997 and was a docent at the Colby Museum of Art for several years.\r\nA special thanks goes out to MaineGeneral Hospice Services for outstanding care and service.\r\nThere will be a private graveside service at a later date. Arrangements by Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm Street, Waterville. An online guestbook may be signed and condolences expressed at www.gallantfh.com To honor Joan's memory, donations can be made to the Joan Besse Garden Project at the Alfond Youth Center, 126 North Street, Waterville, ME 04901. To donate online: tinyurl.com/Joan-Bessey.