Michael Jon Kessler, 77, of Biloxi, Mississippi passed away peacefully on March 14, 2023 at his home with his wife of 56 years, Isabel “Bell” M. Kessler, by his side.
Michael is preceded in death by his mother, Bernice Ruth Kessler (nee Priest); father, Leroy F. Kessler Sr.; brother David E. Kessler; and
sister-in-law Roberta Kessler.
Michael is survived by wife, Isabel “Bell” M. Kessler, Biloxi, MS; children, Michael F. Kessler (spouse Traci), Biloxi, MS, Isabel “Cathy” C. Kessler, Biloxi, MS, Elizabeth A. Kessler, Biloxi, MS; and his grandson, Christopher F. Kessler, Biloxi, MS. He is also survived by his brothers, Leroy F. Kessler Jr., Turlock, CA, Richard “Dick” Kessler (spouse Holly), Oregon; brother-in-law, George C. Jirout, Colorado Springs, CO; sister-in-law, Bernadette Graham, Biloxi, MS; and extended family and friends.
Michael was born in Modesto, California on December 13, 1945. He graduated from Thomas Downy High School in 1964, and was voted “Funniest Person” by his graduating class for his sense of humor and antics. He was an active athlete - a starter on the school’s Greco-Roman wrestling team and a cheerleader – and a member of the drama club, starring in multiple plays.
After graduation, he joined the United States Air Force in January of 1965. He was recruited for the Air Force Wrestling team and competed in the Armed Forces Wrestling Championships in 1965, taking third in his weight class in Greco-Roman wrestling. During his 26 years of dedicated service he served as a radar technician in Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, Iceland, and the West Coast of the United States. He was assigned to Quality Control while serving at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi and eventually trained and taught as a Quality Control instructor. He retired in Biloxi on 31 January 1991 at the rank of Master Sargent.
It was during his tour of duty in Washington state that Michael’s future brother-in-law, George Jirout, invited him home to visit his family, which is where he met the future love of his life, Bell. After a brief courtship, they were married on 26 May, 1967. They eventually settled in Biloxi, Mississippi.
After his retirement from the Air Force, Michael worked as a chemical reaction specialist for DuPont in Pass Christian, Mississippi a for ten years, until forced to retire due to disability. He also worked part time as a traveling notary, servicing south Mississippi for many years.
Michael was a member of Nativity BVM Cathedral Parish. He joined the Knights of Columbus, Chapter #1244, in Biloxi, MS where he achieved the rank of 4th degree knight, and actively supported campaigns to aid people with intellectual disabilities.
Michael enjoyed many hobbies, especially woodworking. He often constructed lawn displays and ornaments for local residents and the Nativity BVM Catholic Elementary School near his home. He was an avid photographer and documented many family events; a Boy Scout scoutmaster; and a great soccer dad. He gave readily of his talents to both family and friends.
A committal service with full military honors will be held at 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 20, 2023 at the Biloxi National Cemetery, 400 Veterans Ave. Biloxi, MS.
At the request of Michael there will be no visitation or funeral service. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to to The Nativity BVM Elementary School Foundation, Biloxi, MS; The Humane Society of South Mississippi, Gulfport; The Loaves and Fishes Building Fund, Biloxi, MS; or Oxford House, Biloxi, MS in his name.
Riemann Family Funeral Home, Biloxi is serving the Kessler family.
The family of Michael wishes to thank Gia from VA Home Help for all her loving care and assistance to Michael and his family during his last few months; and Riemann Family Funeral Home, Biloxi for their help and assistance.