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1962 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
KESSLER, Andrew Hoyt Photographer & Pan-Mass Challenge Rider April 22, 1962 -- September 13, 2018 Andrew (Andy) was born in Brookline which is where his parents Bette Ann and Robert grew up. Andy was the middle of three children with a younger sister Susan and an older brother Gary. The family lived on Winston Road in Newton where the neighborhood was full of similarly aged boys. Andy spent lots of time outdoors running around or playing basketball in the driveway with the neighborhood boys or with his dad and brother in the evenings. Andy continued to play basketball into adulthood which he enjoyed but he was no threat to any of the Celtics. Andy was an okay student but very early on he was introduced to photography which would become one of his life's passions. He went on to get his BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design. In the summers, from age 8 to 15, Andy went to Camp Cedar in Casco Maine. Andy loved Camp Cedar and many of his lifelong friends were made from his years at the camp. During summers he took extended backpacking and canoe trips and through those trips, which he often took with his brother, Andy, discovered a love for exploring and being out in nature. While Andy learned a lot about photography during his time at RISD the question soon arose about what to do for work now that he had his art degree. Andy considered many things including camping. He started his own business called Coffee Pond Photography which was named after the lake where Camp Cedar was located. Andy soon partnered with Marc Stiller, a Camp Cedar friend, and together the two of them expanded and grew the business. Around 2002 Andy learned that his friends Jeff and Karen Packman's daughter Hanna had cancer. Jeff and Karen had a team in the 2003 Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) bike ride which raises money to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Center. Up to this point Andy had not been a cyclist but committed himself to train so he could complete the nearly 200-mile ride. Not only did he commit to train he also committed to raise as much money as he could for the PMC and each year he raised enough to be part of the "Heavy Hitters" group. Soon cycling became a passion of Andy's. He rode nearly every day and made many new friends through the sport. He continued to ride the PMC for 14 years only missing it in 2018. In 2014, Andy was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx. Andy became a patient at Dana-Farber, the hospital whose work he had supported for the years he rode in the PMC. Andy went through radiation, but it did not kill the cancer. His best option was surgery and in 2015 he had a laryngectomy which removed his voice box. Andy had always been an outgoing and gregarious person and this major surgery would take away his regular voice. Many people would have withdrawn after this life changing surgery, but Andy bounced back quickly and was soon doing all the things he loved in life from hanging out with friends, to travel with his family, to cycling in the PMC and ski trips to British Columbia and Italy. Andy did not miss a beat. After two and half years of being cancer free, Andy was told that his cancer had returned. In early 2018, Andy began treatment, knowing the odds were not in his favor. He endured both aggressive chemo therapy and radiation. Neither was able to kill the cancer. Andy also tried immunotherapy but that too was unsuccessful. At this point Andy was out of options for further treatment. While Andy often thanked his medical team at Dana-Farber while alive he wanted to offer a final thank you to everyone who treated him so well and kindly during his time at the hospital. One thing that gave Andy his strength was the support of his family and many friends. During his most recent round of treatment, Andy staged a pop-up photography show in Wellesley with proceeds from the sales of the photos going to Dana-Farber. Andy was overjoyed with the hundreds of friends and family members who attended the opening of the show. Despite death coming too soon, Andy accepted his fate with the courage and grace in which he lived his life. His one regret was that he left his beloved wife and caregiver Betsy and their children Kess and Jackson far too soon. He loved his nieces and nephews, Emma & Caleb Kessler and Douglas, Julia & Caroline Cohen, Ben Sankel and of course his mother, Bette Ann Kessler as well as his sisters-in-law Erika Lindberg, Amy Cohen and his brothers-in-law Jimmy Cohen and Howard Sankel. He was so looking forward to spending many years laughing and traveling with Betsy and watching his children graduate college and have families of their own. In the end, Andy had a great life, made up of so many friends and a close family. When Andy's doctors told him to get after his bucket list, he told them it wasn't necessary, he had lived his bucket list. There will be a celebration of Andy's life on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 4:30 at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley. A reception will be held at the temple until 7:30 p.m. Memorial observance will be at the Kessler Residence Monday 2-4 & 7-9 p.m., and Tuesday 1-3 p.m. If you cannot attend, please take a moment and look up, it's what Andy always took the time to do. Remember Andy in your own way. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in honor of Andy to The Pan-Mass Challenge, the Brookline Community Foundation or WBUR.
Published in The Boston Globe on Sept. 15, 2018
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