Mary Dorothy Jones Bessex

Mary Dorothy Besset

Dorothy was born in 1925 to Arthur John and Margaret Ann Molineux Jones of Montreal.  She attended Fairmount, Ahuntsic and William Dawson elementary schools in that city, as well as Argyle Junior High and Westmount High.  After taking some commercial courses, she obtained a job in Montreal and stayed there for 11 years.

1953 was Coronation year for Queen Elizabeth II.  As Dorothy was a year older than the queen, she felt she wasn’t likely to see another one in her lifetime.  So, demonstrating a spirit of adventure unusual in a single young woman of that generation, she quit her job, went to England to enjoy the festivities, then travelled around Britain for a few weeks, followed by a month in Europe.  She believed she would never visit the area again, so she went back to London, found a job, and stayed for 4 more months.

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Upon returning home to Montreal, she worked in the head office of the Royal Bank and was subsequently transferred to Edmonton and Calgary.  There she met and married Dennis Henry Bessex.  They retired to Victoria and he died in 1997.

During their life together they continued the travelling Dorothy loved so well, but only to places accessible by car.  After Dennis’ death, she again travelled further afield, covering 55 countries in just over 8 years.  Her adventures included a trip to Antarctica and an African safari, and continued until just before she died, in 2007, at age 82.Dorothy enjoyed playing the piano, which influenced her legacy to the University of Victoria:  the Mary Dorothy Jones Bessex bursaries for piano students in the School of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts.

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