Fishing 04

Frederick G. Bess

August 25, 1942 ~ December 18, 2020 (age 78)


Olean- Frederick G. Bess of Olean, passed away Friday (December 18, 2020) at the Olean General Hospital, after a short illness.

Born on August 25, 1942 in Salamanca, he was the son of Raymond and Jean Eastman Bess.  He married Kathryn Vigneri, who survives.

Fred graduated from Eldred High School, Class of 1961. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in physical education from Salem College in Salem, West Virginia in 1965 and was honored by Who’s Who In America.  He did graduate work at West Virginia University and completed his Master’s Degree in education from St. Bonaventure University in 1972.

Fred was a physical education teacher at Allegany High School and coached gymnastics and other team sports while there as well. After retiring from Allegany High School, he started Bess Timber Company.

He was active in the Boy Scouts of America from a young age and was proud to become an Eagle Scout in 1961, with Troop 0012, Eldred, PA.

Fred was always proud of his Pennsylvania roots. He was an avid fly fisherman and enjoyed fishing the Pennsylvania streams with his childhood buddy, “Howdy” Van Scoter.  In his later years, he found peace fishing in the Ausable River in the Adirondack Mountains and at the Beaverkill Lodge in the Catskill Mountains. His best fishing was with his grandchildren at the family cottage on Chautauqua Lake.

Fred was a parishioner at St. Mary of the Angels Basilica and the Bemus Point United Methodist Church. He volunteered at the Olean Food Pantry and at St. Mary of the Angels Basilica Christmas dinner and Summer Festival.  Fred was an avid gardener and spent time learning wood working skills. One of his favorite pastimes was collecting and reading books by his favorite authors; James Oliver Curwood and Zane Grey.  He also enjoyed following his favorite sports teams; The Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, The Toronto Blue Jays and Penn State football.

In addition to his wife of 31 years, Fred is survived by his two daughters; Lori Wike of Hickory North Carolina and Amy (Don) Bess- Graves of Reisterstown, Maryland; three step-sons, James (Erin) Beane of Zanesville, Ohio, Jason (Carisima) Vigneri-Beane of Brooklyn, NY, and John (Liz) Beane of Hamburg; grandchildren, Nathan Ryan Wike, Gabriel Koenig-Beane, Cambria Beane and Hannah Beane; sister, Penny (Tom) Wilcox of Franklinville; nephews, Rob and Dennis; and his nieces, Sherrill Sciortino and Tammy Peterson.

There will be no services for Fred at this time.  A memorial service will be at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Portville Free Library, 2N Main Street, Portville or the Portville VFW, 538 Whitehouse Road, Portville, in honor of his friend, Richard Anderson, Vietnam Veteran.

Those who knew and loved Fred, will be “Cryin’ in a bucket” and missing him dearly.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Guenther Funeral Home, Inc. Online condolences may be expressed at

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