Gerald Lee Kessel

Gerald Lee Kessel, 91, of Geneseo, passed away on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, at Hammond Henry Hospital, Geneseo, IL. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Geneseo Chapel. Timothy Brinkman, Director of Worship, First United Methodist Church, Geneseo, will officiate. Burial will follow at the Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, IL. Visitation will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, at the funeral home.

Memorials may be directed to the Aisle of Flags, donation information can be found by calling (309) 945-2140 or by visiting www.geneseoaisleofflags.org or to the Geneseo VFW – Don Cherry Post #5083, 223 South State Street, Geneseo, IL, 61254.

Jerry was born in Fairfield, Iowa. After graduation from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1948 where he served for 22 years. He was very proud of his service to this country, especially his tours in San Diego, aboard ship for four years; the Iowa State University Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) and his final Naval tour in Vietnam.

Jerry then worked for the Illinois Department of Employment Security for 26 years, where he served as Veteran’s Representative and was especially proud of his collaboration with State and Federal Legislators to extend the GI Bill deadline so Vietnam veterans who had secured manufacturing jobs could be retrained when these jobs disappeared during the recession. He also wrote more than 100 articles for Stars and Stripes magazine. Jerry retired in 1996.

Jerry married Betty Lou Kelsall on October 22, 1950, in Moline. They raised four daughters while living in Moline and Great Lakes, IL; San Diego, CA; Ames, IA; Geneseo and Galesburg, IL.

Jerry was a very loving husband and father. He thoroughly enjoyed his children and grandchildren and loved to play jokes and tease. He especially loved to teach them how to fish. In more recent years, seeing him with his great-grandchildren was a delight. He was always saying how proud he was of his daughters and their families. He never met a stranger.

He is survived by his love of a lifetime, Betty; four daughters, Janet (Brad) Pierce, Davenport, Karen (Roy) DePauw, Geneseo, Barbara Kessel-Shane, Geneseo, and Paula Kessel, Galesburg; six grandchildren, Brent (Kimberly) DePauw, Laura DePauw, Ryan (Samantha) Pierce, Sara (Jeremy) Kessinger, Mariela and Nicholas Shane; seven great-grandchildren, Johnathan and Addison DePauw, Emma, Ian and Violet Pierce, Griffin and Cooper Kessinger; and one sibling, Shirley McClurg of Bettendorf.

He was preceded in death by his father John Kessel and his mother Mary Holmes.

Posted online on June 10, 2022

Published in Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

Gerald Lee Kessel

Gerald Lee Kessel, 91, of Geneseo, passed away on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, at Hammond Henry Hospital, Geneseo, IL. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Geneseo Chapel. Timothy Brinkman, Director of Worship, First United Methodist Church, Geneseo, will officiate. Burial will follow at the Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, IL. Visitation will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, at the funeral home.

Memorials may be directed to the Aisle of Flags, donation information can be found by calling (309) 945-2140 or by visiting www.geneseoaisleofflags.org or to the Geneseo VFW – Don Cherry Post #5083, 223 South State Street, Geneseo, IL, 61254.

Jerry was born in Fairfield, Iowa. After graduation from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1948 where he served for 22 years. He was very proud of his service to this country, especially his tours in San Diego, aboard ship for four years; the Iowa State University Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) and his final Naval tour in Vietnam.

Jerry then worked for the Illinois Department of Employment Security for 26 years, where he served as Veteran’s Representative and was especially proud of his collaboration with State and Federal Legislators to extend the GI Bill deadline so Vietnam veterans who had secured manufacturing jobs could be retrained when these jobs disappeared during the recession. He also wrote more than 100 articles for Stars and Stripes magazine. Jerry retired in 1996.

Jerry married Betty Lou Kelsall on October 22, 1950, in Moline. They raised four daughters while living in Moline and Great Lakes, IL; San Diego, CA; Ames, IA; Geneseo and Galesburg, IL.

Jerry was a very loving husband and father. He thoroughly enjoyed his children and grandchildren and loved to play jokes and tease. He especially loved to teach them how to fish. In more recent years, seeing him with his great-grandchildren was a delight. He was always saying how proud he was of his daughters and their families. He never met a stranger.

He is survived by his love of a lifetime, Betty; four daughters, Janet (Brad) Pierce, Davenport, Karen (Roy) DePauw, Geneseo, Barbara Kessel-Shane, Geneseo, and Paula Kessel, Galesburg; six grandchildren, Brent (Kimberly) DePauw, Laura DePauw, Ryan (Samantha) Pierce, Sara (Jeremy) Kessinger, Mariela and Nicholas Shane; seven great-grandchildren, Johnathan and Addison DePauw, Emma, Ian and Violet Pierce, Griffin and Cooper Kessinger; and one sibling, Shirley McClurg of Bettendorf.

He was preceded in death by his father John Kessel and his mother Mary Holmes.

Posted online on June 10, 2022

Published in Chillicothe Times-Bulletin