Jewish 09

Ghita Hill Bessman

August 27, 1923 ~ October 28, 2020 (age 97)

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Madison:  Ghita Hill Bessman, age 97, died on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. She was born on August 27, 1923, a first-generation American and the daughter of Daniel and Anna (Grossman) Hill in Lincoln, Nebraska. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in communications, Ghita married Leonard Bessman from Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1950.  They moved to Madison in 1960. 

Ghita came from an altruistic family that instilled the importance of volunteerism. Among her many accomplishments, she served as the first woman president of the Jewish Federation of Madison, the president of the Hadassah Midwest Region, and she was a founder of the Superintendent’s Human Relations Advisory Council (SHRAC) for the Madison public school system. Ghita opened her home every year to international students and other guests for Thanksgiving, as well as for Passover and other Jewish holidays. Along with her passion for helping people, she will be remembered for her sense of humor, her witty lyrics in her songs and verse, her handmade New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day cards, her saddle shoes, her red eyeglasses, and her love for all things Cornhusker.  Attending Broadway musicals and concerts always brought her joy. Ghita always used to say that she became a proud Democrat when she was too young to vote and that she never missed a voting day.

Ghita was the proud mother of Jim, Ruthanne (Neil Bohrod), and Richard, and the proud grandmother of Ariela.  She is also survived by her many nieces and nephews, cousins and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Leonard, and her siblings Leo, Ruth and Selma (Cohen).  Ghita was buried in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The family would like to thank Dr. Mariah Quinn, the staff of both Cairasu Home Care and Agrace HospiceCare, and Ghita’s neighbors Bill and Deb for their wonderful support during her illness.

Donations can be made in Ghita’s memory to the Jewish Federation of Madison, Madison Hadassah and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Perhaps we can all get together to celebrate Ghita’s life at a later date while we eat her favorite ice cream.

Please share your memories at

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road  Madison

(608) 238-3434

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