James Eric Besaw, 22, of Nevada, died unexpectedly on May 12, 2012. He was born on July 16, 1989, in Santa Ana, Calif., the son of Jeff and Jeanne Besaw. Home-schooled, James took classes at Crowder College in Nevada and later transferred his coursework to Ashford University, pursuing a major in psychology.
He had a variety of personal interests, but was proudest of his involvement and work with scouting. He was a member of the Order of the Eagle of the Boy Scouts of American, Troop No. 42. He received this high honor under the leadership guidance of Steve Reed and Dr. Ted Moore as a result of designing and implementing a flag retirement program still in use in Vernon County, Mo., today.
His creative talents found artistic expression upon the local stages of Nevada's own CCPA Playhouse, as well as those on the campus of Cottey College. He appeared in numerous children's theater productions, including "Aesop's Fables" as well as adult dramas such as "The Heidi Chronicles", where his acting was both acclaimed and memorable.
Mischievous and full of mirth, those who knew him were often struck by his affinity and love for nature and the great outdoors. An accomplished surfer, swimmer, and canoeist, James looked forward to overnight camping trips to Stockton Lake, Caplinger Mills, and other recreation areas with family and friends.
A compassionate young man, James often provided comforting companionship to homebound area residents who called him friend, but treated him like family. Indeed, he never met a stranger and would offer to help when needed, whether it was asked for or not.
James was especially beloved by his two brothers and sister. He was attentive and protective of them, beyond the usual sibling teasing a family is known for, and rare were the times you saw him without one or all tagging along on his daily adventures. Likewise, he often expressed genuine appreciation and love for his parents, particularly his mother who was as much his moral compass as she was his fiercest advocate and cheerleader.
He spent weeks or months at a time at his older brother's home, sharing with him a love for video games and computers. Following the birth of his niece Maya, he turned into a doting uncle and showered her with affection and laughter. Indeed, his laughter was contagious and rarely could one deflect it and not smile in reply.
James is survived by his parents, Jeff Besaw, Nevada, Mo., and Jeanne Besaw of Rogers, Ark.; his younger brother and sister, Jordan and Jessi Besaw of Rogers, Ark.; his older brother, Jason and his wife, Alisha Besaw, and niece Maya, all of Neosho, Mo.; his paternal grandmother, Fay Besaw of Nevada; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, as well as numerous close friends.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, May 17, at Disciples Christian Church in Nevada. Family will receive friends on Wednesday, May 16, from 6-8 p.m., at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the James Besaw Memorial Fund in care of Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.
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