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Gilbert Kesler

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Gilbert Kesler Obituary
Now comes a time to celebrate the long, fruitful and well lived life of Gilbert Leroy Kesler. Born in Tiffin, Ohio on July 15, 1921, Gil traveled a long road to Canon City where he lived the last ten years in the loving company of his beloved daughter and grand-daughter, Kim Madigan and Katie Barr. Mr. Kesler follows the path of his sweetheart bride of 64 years Virginia Elizabeth, who recently led the way. When Gil married Virginia Elizabeth Rosenberger on Nov. 27, 1946, in Baltimore, Md., they embarked on a journey that resulted in 5 brothers and sisters; Charles H. Bell of Greensboro NC., Diane Alexander and Pete Kesler of Littleton, CO., and Kimberley Kesler-Madigan and John Kesler of Canon City. The love that produced these children was carried forward leaving Gil's survivors to include 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Mr. Kesler is also survived by his sister Margaret Henry and brother George Kesler. After high school Gil joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was pleased to be sent to work on projects in the American West. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps after the outbreak of World War II. Gil took flight training in Texas and Florida, before he was deployed to the Eighth Air Force forward fighter base in Debden England. It was there as a member of the famous Eagle Squadron of the Fourth Fighter Group that Gil earned the title of Ace, while flying the North American P51 Mustang. It was over Belgium that he became a member of the very exclusive Caterpillar Club when he parachuted from a burning P51 that had been struck by ground air defenses when returning from a mission over Germany. He continued to pursue his love of flying by being a pilot in the Air Force Reserve, a pilot in the Civilian Air Patrol of Maryland. He also conducted a complete restoration of a 1948 Luscombe 8e in the one car garage of his home in Littleton, CO. Gil came to live in Littleton in 1960 when he was transferred from Baltimore by his long time employer, Glenn L. Martin Co. which is now Lockheed Martin. Gil played integral roles in the highly successful Titan missile program and the Mercury and Gemini NASA space programs. Gil was pleased to be able to live and work in the American West that he visited as a young man in the CCC. He spent many enjoyable days and nights fishing, camping, boating, motorcycling and snowmobiling the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico. After his retirement from Lockheed Martin he continued his pursuit of outdoor activities by traveling over the Southwest US and northern Mexico in a motor home with his motorcycle on the back and boat in tow. Gil was diagnosed with lung cancer and lymphoma in the fall of 2004. It was at that time he moved to Canon City and learned to call it his home. Gil was deeply loved and respected by his entire family. Memorial service to be held at 1:00 Saturday April 12th, 2014 at Veteran's Park in Canon City, CO. Arrangements entrusted to Harwood Funeral Home. Online condolences to harwoodfunerals.com

Published in The Canon City Daily Record on Apr. 9, 2014
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