CINCINNATI — of East Walnut Hills in Cincinnati died unexpectedly on September 22, 2020 after a heart attack. He was 74.
Tom was born in Piqua, Ohio on November 23, 1945 and was the son of the late Henry J. Besanceney and Jean Wilson Besanceney. Tom was a 1967 graduate of Xavier University, where he earned a Fredin Memorial Scholarship to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. He also attended the Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and served in the National Guard.
Tom began his career in the hotel industry, at one point serving as the youngest general manager in the Sheraton chain. He then followed his father’s footsteps into chamber of commerce management, leading chambers in a number of small and midsized cities in the Midwest before settling in Cincinnati in 1979 to run ACT for Covington, which helped spur redevelopment of the Covington waterfront and historic district.
After a stint leading public relations in support of the famous Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” campaign, and a brief return to the hotel business, Tom co-founded a public relations and marketing consulting firm, Marketplex, Inc., in 1986, which he managed for more than 25 years. He maintained an office long after his retirement, and he had a great laugh when an “online rating service” ranked Marketplex as one of the Top 20 public relations firms in Cincinnati many years after he worked with his last client. He also served as president of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce from 2002-2004, where he was involved in efforts to redevelop that area while maintaining its historic character. For a number of years, he was a member of the Rotary Club of Cincinnati and he spent countless hours mentoring young professionals.
Tom will be remembered fondly by family and friends for his relentless good nature, intelligence, kindness — and most especially for his constant and often irreverent sense of humor, even in his final days. He was a loving father and doting grandfather who enjoyed all kinds of travel, from local day trips to international adventures, and whose epic travelogues will long be cherished. He was also a voracious reader of American history and enjoyed researching family history and reconnecting with relatives.
Tom is survived by his wife Mary M. “Molly” Besanceney, with whom he enjoyed almost 28 years of loving marriage and innumerable travel odysseys. His other survivors include his brother, John Besanceney of Unionville Center, Ohio; his son Brian Besanceney of Winter Park, Florida (Hannah); and stepsons Taylor Fox (Sejal) of Cincinnati and Drew Fox (Rachel) of Silverton, Oregon. He is also survived by his six grandchildren Madeleine, Simone, Dillon, Evan, Elliot, and Avery. His “daughter” Ethel, an almost twenty year-old West Highland Terrier, survives him as well. His sister Ann Besanceney predeceased him in 2007.
Due to the pandemic, the family will be holding a private memorial service at Spring Grove Cemetery on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in Tom’s honor in support of the Xavier University Career Development Program through the Xavier University Development Office, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-5430.