Rev. Robert Lee Kessler, 88, of Winona Lake, Indiana, the father of Grace College Lancer head basketball coach Jim Kessler, was promoted to heaven at 12:45 p.m. Dec. 10, 2012, in Lutheran Hospital, Fort Wayne, where he was briefly hospitalized due to a fractured neck he suffered in a fall at his home in Winona Lake.
He was born Dec. 5, 1924, in Springfield, IL to Arthur Lee and Elizabeth Dodds Kessler. On Aug. 24, 1943, he married Ada Florence Kessler, who died June 14, 2010.
He graduated from high school in Rochester, IL in 1943 and immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving with the Mediterranean fleet until the end of WWII. Following his honorable discharge, he enrolled in barber school, earning his license to barber in 1946. Accepting God’s call to full-time Christian ministry, he enrolled in Midwest Bible Institute, St. Louis in 1949. He served with Rural Bible Crusades as a missionary Bible teacher and preacher among churches and schools in the Missouri Ozarks (1953-60). He was the director of Sheltering Heights Bible Camp in Springfield, MO (1960-63). His final call was to the pastorate of two churches, the Community Church of Houstonia, MO (1963-87) and the Community Church of Sedalia, MO (1968-2003).
In 2004 he and his wife moved to Winona Lake to live near family. In his retirement he continued to minister to others as a chapel speaker at Grace Village Health Care and as an active attender of Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church.
He will be lovingly remembered by his two sons, James (and spouse Susanne) Kessler, Winona Lake; Timothy (and spouse Paula) Kessler, Kansas City, MO; six grandchildren: Kimberly (and spouse Chris) Dawson, Sarah (and spouse Christian) McCray, Jennifer (and spouse Jarrod) Lovette, Janelle (and spouse Doug) Meyer, all of Winona Lake; Travis (and spouse Jennifer) Kessler, Liberty, MO; Heath (and spouse Carolyn) McCurdy, Aiken, SC; 14 great-grandchildren: Lynae, Kyle, Whitney, and Wyatt Dawson, Claudia, Kendall, and Cohen McCray, Jada and Josie Lovette, and Adalyn Meyer, all of Winona Lake; Isabella, Daniel, and Sophia Kessler, Liberty, MO; and Caiden McCurdy, Aiken, SC. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Arthur and William Kessler.
A memorial service will be at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church at 12 noon, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 with Pastor Bruce Barlow officiating. Burial will be in Zion Cemetery, Pawnee, IL at 10 a.m. , Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Titus Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Calling is prior to the memorial service from 10 to 12 noon, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church.
Memorials may be made to Grace College, 200 Seminary Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 designated “Men’s Basketball Summer Missions.”