Rev. George Albert Kessler
December 10, 1948-April 12, 2019
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
Rev. George Albert Kessler went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on April 12, 2019 at his home in Pensacola after a long illness. George was born in Jackson, MS on December 10, 1948, the youngest son of William Howard and Berdie Mary (Brumfield) Kessler. He spent his childhood in Jackson and Tylertown, Mississippi, where his grandparents and mother’s siblings all lived.
George is predeceased by both of his parents and his stepmother, Lilly (Stokes) Kessler.
Left to treasure his memory are the loves of his life, his loving and devoted wife of 46 years, Karen (Snider); and the blessings of his life, his five children and 14 grandchildren, whom he adored, George Albert Kessler, Jr. and wife, Michelle (Jolly) and their five children, George Albert the III, Michaela Ann, Rachel Marie, Jared Alexander, and Sarah Elizabeth of Naples, Italy, Mary Elaine (Kessler) Aboud and spouse, Kristian and their five sons, Aidan Luke, Taylor George, Kieran James, Dylan Craig, and Caelan Bruce of Lisbon, Portugal, Hannah Altha (Kessler) Kriewaldt and her two daughters, Viktoria Grace and Ava Marie of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Lydia Allison (Kessler) DeMars and husband, Christopher and their two daughters, Evangeline Simone’ and Aleksandra Allison of Swansboro, North Carolina, and son, John Alexander Kessler of Miami Beach, Florida. He is survived by two siblings, Louisa (Kessler) Thigpen, wife of Dr. J. Tate Thigpen, Jackson, Mississippi and William Howard Kessler, Jr., wife, Averyell (Althaus) Kessler of Jackson, Mississippi and many beloved nieces and nephews.
A graduate of Murrah High School, Marion Military Institute, Belhaven University, and Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, George continued his education with additional studies at Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Westminster Seminary, and the University of New Hampshire. He was a life-long learner. At his first pastorate in Tennessee, he enjoyed his love of gardening and became a shepherd of not only God’s people, but of a small flock of sheep and a flock chickens and gaggle of geese. He valued farmers, those who worked the land and those who used their skills to do hard work. He loved having dogs, as well.
George became a Christian in college and decided to attend seminary to prepare educationally for whatever God called him to do. He determined God’s call on his life was to be a minister and counselor. He filled the pulpit in many churches over his years on this earth from desert sands with the USMC to small country, one-room chapels in the Midwest. Not a Sunday passed without his worshipping the Lord corporately or with his family. He enjoyed witnessing to individuals, visiting them in the hospital, their homes, prison, or any opportunity God provided.
George served as a hospital chaplain for the Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, prior to ordination in the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America. He served honorably in pastorates for 38 years in Tennessee, Missouri, and Florida. A veteran, George also served his country for over 22 years in the U.S. Navy, including time in the first Gulf War as a chaplain. His final active duty position was as Director of Pastoral Care at Naval Hospital Pensacola. George served as a chaplain for the State of Florida Department of Corrections at the Work Release Center in Pensacola and at the prison in Century.
George was civic minded serving in various organizations to improve his community and the lives of the least among us. It gave George great pleasure to lend a helping hand to anyone in need and most usually anonymously. George enjoyed camping, playing games of strategy, was an avid reader and enjoyed studying the world around him. He had many God given gifts which included listening, counseling, and preaching the Word. He was known for his gregarious laugh which filled hearts with joy and helped his children locate him during their childhood. He thought life was an adventure and kept the true spirit of Christmas all year long. He believed in the power of forgiveness, both giving and receiving. He believed in redemption. Throughout his life, he was known by his family, his friends, and acquaintances as “A Man of God.”
George started his full-time ministry as a hospital chaplain and finished his ministry as a hospice chaplain and small church pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pensacola. The family would like to express our special and heartfelt appreciation for the loving care George received from the Covenant Hospice Home Care Team.
His family and friends celebrated George’s life and Holy Communion this summer on July 6, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in the NAS Pensacola All Faiths Chapel, Chaplain Richard Tiff, LT, USN officiating and John Roberts, providing music. A reception for family and friends was held afterwards at the McKamey Center. As a Naval Officer, George chose Burial at Sea to join so many shipmates who sacrificed their lives for our country and sacrificed for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Once complete, the Navy will provide the coordinates of George’s burial and a memorial plaque set with this information in Barrancas National Veteran Cemetery, NAS Pensacola, Florida.
Please make donations to Covenant Hospice online at https://choosecovenant.org/donate/; Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3626 W. Jackson Street, Pensacola, FL 32505 or to support Paul W. Snider, Missionary with CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) through https://give.cru.org/0761607.
Condolences may be shared with the family at Legacy. (https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/george-kessler-obituary?pid=192397645)
“A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35.