Mary Elizabeth Pender Kessler
Mrs. Kessler went to be with her God and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Monday October 7th, 2013.
Services celebrating her earthly life will be in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Church Shreveport at 10am on Saturday the 12th of October. Officiating will be Ronney Joe Webb and Orville Rogers. Visitation will be in the parlor following the service. Interment will be Sunday the 13th of October at 1pm at the St. Louis Cemetery in Eunice, Louisiana where she will be laid beside her husband.
Born on the 7th day of April in 1934 as the fourth child of Annie Marie Carter Pender and Ralph Lewis Pender Sr., she grew up in Montgomery and Alexandria, LA. She attended Bolton High School, then 2½ years and graduated from Acadia Academy; a Baptist owned and operated boarding school near Eunice, LA. She then moved to Shreveport and went to work for the South Central Bell Telephone Co. at age 17. She was employed 35 ½ years having held 23 different jobs, replaced by computers 4 times and retired at age 53 in 1987 in the first round of offers after the Bell System was broken up by Judge Green. She was a chief steward with Local 3411 of the CWA for 12 years and went into Management in 1972 as a Sales Manager in Marketing after only 18 months as a sales person. Her boss, (years later to be her husband) talked long and hard to convince her to accept a management job. Later she described going into Marketing was like going from a dark room into bright sunshine.
In Marketing she found her home. She was known to say "I worked 20 years for a pay check and 15 for pure love of the job. I went farther, made more money and had more fun than I ever dreamed possible." From Sales Manager Mary Elizabeth went to Company Head Quarters in Birmingham for three years teaching Marketing of the larger systems for the 5 Southern States. Then she returned to Louisiana in Baton Rouge as a Systems Manager over the group that was responsible for design of the large communication systems such as the Navy, Space Stations, State, Hospitals, Prisons, and Colleges etc. She also administrated the qualifying test (of only college graduates) for being hired into Marketing for the State. During the time in Baton Rouge the Company sent her to MIT in Cambridge, MA. for a 9 week course in Computer Science they developed for ATT that was the equivalent to their graduate course. She was one of only two out of a class of 125 that only had high school formal education.
Mary Elizabeth was a 50 plus year member of First Baptist Church. She accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior at age 13 at a house church in Alexandria, La. She taught Sunday school for many years was a deacon and later deacon emeritus and served on many committees including property, personnel, pastor search and pastor's advisory committee. She was active in civic and political campaigns and served as treasurer of the Telephone Pioneers for 21 years in retirement. In Birmingham she belonged to the Quota Club, in Shreveport the Literary Club, Book Club, Petroleum Club and worked with Alvin on many Rotary Club, Delta Chi and I-49 projects.
In 1983 at the age of 49 Mary married Alvin Bruce Kessler and they shared 28 ½ wonderful years. After 5 years in Baton Rouge, marriage brought her back to Shreveport where she became the first Branch Manager in the 9 Southern States of Bell South. The last 18 months were the least happy of her career. She was transferred to a very troubled, unhappy, inside sales office with low results, poor moral and many union grievances and problems. The last two Quarters in that office they took top sales and service in the 9 Southern States, moral was high, all grievances had been settled and Mary retired.
Mary was preceded in death by the love of her life, Alvin Bruce Kessler, her parents and her step-parents, Ivy Penny and Ossie Bowi Pender, sister, Mable Elaine Pender Moody, brother, Ralph Lewis Pender Jr., a nephew, Ralph Lewis Pender III, a sister-in-law, Hilda Aimee Stewart Pender Morrison, and a niece Louise Pender McDonald.
She is survived by a step-son, Dr. Charles Willis Kessler and wife, Mary Jo Kessler, two granddaughters, Remi Simone and Camille Lanelle Kessler of Pueblo, CO, a brother and sister-in-law, Eugene and Mary "Tina" Pender of Leander, TX, a sister-in-law Eda Rodrigue Pender of Baton Rouge, LA., a very special cousin, Sydney Yvonne Hines Bass of Phoenix, AZ, 9 much loved nieces and nephews, many of the Kessler family who welcomed and became her family as well and a host of beloved friends.
Honoring Elizabeth as pallbearers will be nephews Gary, Scott, Ricky and Al Pender; Barry, Richard and Scott Moody; Hubert Stagg Jr., Claude Erwin and Tate Thigpen. Honorary pallbearers will be the Dr. Robert Wilson Coed Sunday School Class.
Very special thanks to Dr. John C. Hardin III, Dr. Richard T. Sipes, numerous nephrologists and Physicians. The family also extends their grateful appreciation to William Davis Sandifer, III, Ms. Mary Gurski, Ms. Reneé Matheney, Ms. Helen Shepperd, and all those that cared for her at Montclair Park Assisted Living.
Mary Elizabeth would be honored by memorials made to any of the below:
First Baptist Church of Shreveport, 543 Ockley Dr. Shreveport, LA 71106
The Rotary Foundation of Shreveport, P O Box 380 Shreveport, LA 71162
Telephone Pioneers, 859 Evans Loop, Mansfield, LA 71052, or the
Published in Shreveport Times from Oct. 9 to Oct. 13, 2013
You are searching