of Herb Kesler
1929 - 2004
On behalf of the entire family, we’re thankful you could be here with us today, remembering Herb Kesler and celebrating his eternal life.
The three things most important to Dad were his faith, his family, and his work. Sharing the role with his twin brother Harold as the eldest of nine, Dad learned early in life how important those values were to him.
Dad was a deeply religious man but kept very much to himself about it. Our family would pray together, and when times were tough, Dad and Mom would pray the rosary. They were members of St. Pius X since 1959 and Dad belonged to the Knights of Columbus and played a key role in the Serra Club for many years.
Dad certainly worked hard all his life. In his Navy career, he served in the Philippines and the Marshall Islands. For the Bikini Islands A-bomb tests his ship serviced the captured German and Japanese battleships.
After his years in the Navy, then attending Marquette and graduating from St. Norbert’s college, Dad began working alongside his own Dad in what would become a 52-year career in the Kirby business. In time he would become a Distributor and build a sales organization of 125 members in 23 area offices. In addition to Kirby, Dad worked 43 years in the real estate rental and management business. Not only did his career provide income; it gave us kids the foundation for our education in the real world. At a young age we all learned about painting, cleaning, mowing, and more.
While Monday through Saturday afternoon was dedicated to work, the rest of the weekend was family time. Together we worked hard and we played hard; at our house, work definitely came before play. Once Saturday morning chores were done - and on Sundays after Church - we headed out on our weekend adventures. Dad provided lots of opportunities for playing - on the houseboat, at the farm and at the cottage.
In winter it was skating, skiing, tobogganing, and snowmobiling. In summers there was swimming, water skiing, and Dad’s favorite; boating. Sometimes he would pull all of us behind the pontoon boat in inner tubes. Or he’d stuff kids into every nook and cranny of our little VW bug and take us driving up and down and through the hills of Plamann Park. Wherever we went, we were quite a sight, and Dad was extremely proud of his big family!
On cold Sunday evenings, Dad would build a fire in the fireplace in the family room and Mom would prepare a meal that we could eat in front of the T.V. where we would watch our favorite programs like Walt Disney, Bonanza and the Ed Sullivan Show.
We spent countless hours with our many cousins, especially Uncle Harold and Aunt Mary’s family. Their children always seemed closer than cousins to us; I guess that had something to do with being descendants of identical twins. Dad and Uncle Harold not only looked alike, they sounded alike and sometimes dressed alike. Much to their delight we would often confuse one for the other when we were younger. They liked it even more when the grandkids came along and got them mixed up all over again.
We have no doubt that looking back over his life, Dad would say the smartest thing he ever did was to capture the heart of his wife, Anne. They would spend just short of 48 years of marriage together. How Dad loved to bring Mom red roses! He really knew the way to her heart. Dad would take Mom out on a date on Friday nights, and most Saturday nights, usually for dinner then dancing. They belonged to many dance clubs, and it was out on the dance floor with a Glenn Miller song playing that they were at their happiest. They were also members of United Commercial Travelers, and together they enjoyed wonderful times visiting more than 20 countries.
Mom was Dad’s compass in this life, and he has missed her more than anyone could possibly know these last four years. Today we are certain that he has joined with Mom in Heaven and they have been dancing to all their favorite big band tunes, waltzes, and even a polka or two. How truly happy we are for them, and for all those cherished family members he is seeing again.
We have done our best to honor our parents and their wishes, especially during their recent times of illness. We are grateful to Paul and John, and especially Katie, for all they have done to help Dad these past few years. Their love and support has been unwavering.
All of us kids are so thankful for Dad’s family and all the friends who have gathered with us to surround Dad with love and support. The many phone calls and visits from near and far helped brighten Dad’s final days and gave the rest of us the strength and courage to rise to the occasion. You have shared many life-affirming stories and helped us to let Dad go on to a far better place. Like the Frank Sinatra song, Dad “did everything his way,” and we will miss him more than we can ever put into words.