Marie L. Besançon

September 21, 1952 ~ November 20, 2018 (age 66)

Stryker, Ohio:

Marie Lynne Besançon, age 66, of Stryker, passed away on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, as the result of injuries from a motor vehicle accident in Shipshewana, Indiana. She was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky on September 21, 1952, the daughter of Stryker native, US Army Colonel Harry C. Besançon and Sadie (Unrue) Besançon of Washington, D.C. Marie is a fifth-generation Stryker resident and is survived by her brother, Michael (Constance) Besançon; sister-in law, Sharon Besançon; nine nieces and nephews, and multiple cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother, Charles Besançon.

Marie was an accomplished fine artist with well-regarded portraiture in charcoal and pencil as well as works in oil and other media. 

She was co-founder of Homes for Sudan (a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to relieving the suffering of millions of internally displaced persons ravaged by sectarian conflict in the Sudan), an Associate Professor of Political Science at Portland State University, Portland Oregon, and a Research Fellow, at the University of Khartoum, Sudan.  Her education includes a bachelor of science in microbiology at the College of Charleston, SC, a master of arts in French at the University of South Carolina, a PhD in political science from the Claremont Graduate University, CA, and a post doctoral fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School, MA.

Marie’s professional expertise was in quantitative analysis of the underlying causes of war, conflict and violence against women. Author of several published academic papers, she was an advocate for empowerment and protection of women at risk, and a pioneer of safe, secure and affordable housing for displaced persons employing “Super Adobe domed construction” designed by CalEarth Architects. She also served as chief cultural advisor to the flag officer commanding the US Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, based in Djibouti City, Djibouti. She was a contributing member of the International Studies Asssociation (ISA), the Peace-Science Society International (PSSI) and other professional political science associations.

Most recently, she completed a landmark project with Homes For Sudan in coordination with the US Agency for International Development and private US and Sudanese charities building a training center for the Mayo Women’s Association in Khartoum, Sudan.

Visitation for Marie will be held at the Grisier Funeral Home, Stryker from 3:00PM to 5:00PM on Monday, December 3rd, 2018.  A celebration of her life will be held the following day, Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 at Zion Mennonite Church, Archbold , OH (reception 1:00-2:00PM, Service 2:00-3:00PM). Burial will follow the service in the French Cemetery, near Stryker. All guests are invited to a reception dinner (4:00-7:00PM) at the Northwest State Community College Atrium Room (building C)  The family requests that memorial contributions be given to The Seeds for Jubilee Foundation “Marie Lynne Besancon Memorial Fund” (  Online condolences may be offered to the family at  Grisier Funeral Home in Stryker has been entrusted with arrangements. 


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