Lori Bessel Wallace, 51 of New Milford, CT passed away peacefully in the early hours of Thursday, March 23, 2017 at her home with her husband by her side and her children close by.
Lori died as a result of Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer. Diagnosed in May of 2015, Lori’s inspirational courage and determination was apparent to all that she encountered, most importantly, her family, friends, and colleagues.
She was born February 6, 1966, the daughter of Henry and Jennie Ruppell Bessel. She grew up on Washington Avenue in Danbury. Lori graduated from Immaculate High School in 1984 and shortly after college joined the family business, Bessel Realty.
It was at Bessel Realty that she learned from her father and older sister the importance of a family-owned and operated business. With her family, she helped grow the company into a well respected and successful venture that was later acquired by Coldwell Banker in 1994. She continued her real estate journey at Coldwell Banker’s New Milford office learning under many of the local “real estate greats.” It was there that she not only learned the value of being part of a small town and having connections, but also became highly respected as a top producer in New Milford real estate. After 19 years with Coldwell Banker she transitioned over to William Raveis Real Estate in the New Milford office.
She began her final chapter in real estate at William Raveis in early 2013 and after a short while was promoted to Regional Manager for both the New Milford and Washington Depot offices. Working for William Raveis and his tight knit, local, family-oriented professional company was truly the best of both worlds for Lori as she thrived in this position. In her four years at Raveis she was instrumental in the relocation and re-construction of the New Milford office, to a highly sought after corner office spot overlooking both Railroad and Bank Streets. She thought of her agents not only as friends, but also as her children, and she lovingly helped guide them in the right direction, not only in business but personally as well.
It was through William Raveis, himself, that she was introduced to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research foundation. This foundation is a 100% non-profit that supports young scientists in their research for new and innovative treatments and potentially cures for cancer. She whole-heartedly felt that if it not for both William Raveis and Damon Runyon, she would not have been able to fight as hard and as long as she did through this disease. Her annual fundraiser event at Down The Hatch for Damon Runyon was always a great success. It was also one of William Raveis’ most successful companywide charity events. Again, despite her own illness she was always looking for ways to help others through their journey.
Throughout her career in Real Estate she impacted the local real estate market in many ways. She received her Real Estate license in 1986, and shortly thereafter became a Broker. In 2012 She was awarded the “Realtor of the Year” award. She was elected President of the Greater New Milford Board Of Realtors and served on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Association of Realtors. Most recently, she received top leadership awards through William Raveis.
Aside from her career, she had many great loves in her life. She and her husband boated many summers on Candlewood Lake with friends and family enjoying the Candlewood Valley views she loved so much. Aside from her children and her career, her biggest pride in life was her home. The restoration of “The Barn” focused on an appreciation for the building’s original architecture. Lori and her husband worked together on “The Barn” for years and created a gardener’s dream and a true restoration masterpiece. After completion it was featured in the Wall Street Journal as the “House of the Day.” One way that Lori and her husband were able to enjoy their home was their evening “Walkabouts,” whereby they would take a stroll down memory lane, visiting the Gazebo where they were married, the memorial spots they planted for their parents, and the beautiful landscape and various waterfalls, viewpoints and gardens completing the vision Lori had from the first time she stepped foot on the property. She was an avid collector of all things Rooster and Nutcracker, both of which were prominently displayed throughout her home. She was the unofficial “Mayor of Bank Street” and conducted many board meetings with her constituents at her beloved Lucia’s. Friday night cocktail hours with her “girls” was always a highlight for her week, but also treasured visits with long time best friend, Sarah Fitzpatrick.
Lori leaves behind her husband and the love of her life, Chris Wallace, her “Rock”; her daughter Brooke (Schumacher) and husband Robson Chaves Jr.; her son Brian Stoner and wife Casaundra (Palmesi), and the light of her life, grandson Mason Michael Stoner; her step daughter Lacey Wallace; her stepsons William Wallace and Cody Wallace; and last but not least her Black Labrador babies Mr. Ed and Grace.
Lori is survived by her brother Henry “Skip” Bessel and wife Maggie; her “oldest” sister Connie and husband, Bill Strait; her brother-in-law, Paul Hiro; and her sister Denise Bessel and husband Amin Pandolfi. Her 11 nieces and nephews include Heidi Bessel Chelednik, Adam Bessel, Cathrina Strait Scott, Gregory Strait, Christine Strait Barker, Tara Hiro Ferrante, Thomas Hiro, Stacy Slater Butler, Ryan Slater, Amy Slater, and Kimberly Slater Howell. As full as the family was, the dynamic of the bunch would not be complete without the spouses of all those previously listed, Lori thought of them all as family and they were instrumental to the happiness in her life. She will always be “Standing By You.” She was predeceased by her older sister, Patti Lu Hiro.
Calling hours for Lori will be held at Lillis Funeral Home, 58 Bridge Street, New Milford, CT, on Friday, March 31st, 2017 from 5pm – 8pm. In addition to flowers donations can be made to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation in Memory of Lori Wallace. Memorial services will be held with immediate family at a later date.