Erwin “Bud” Bessler — a decorated World War II veteran who returned home to serve his hometown of Cudahy with distinction — died last week at the age of 89. Services are Monday.
In May 2010, Bessler received the French government’s Legion of Honor Medal, an award established by Napoleon Bonaparte. Bessler, the driving force behind the Cudahy War Memorial, said he accepted the award for those he knew who did not come home from the war.
“I’m representing all the soldiers, my friends, who were left behind,” Bessler said then.
During World War II, Bessler received the Purple Heart, a Good Conduct Medal and several campaign ribbons, including one with the Silver Star. He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Bessler worked for many years as a designer for the Ladish Co. A graduate of the Layton School of Art, he also ran a sign-making company.
Bright colors, he often told his children, always stood out. He brought that style sense not just to his signs, as well as his favorite red bow ties, but also his home, once painting it aqua, and another time, canary yellow.
He played the drums throughout his life and was in a band called the Meltones.
Please keep the Bessler family in your thoughts and prayers.