Chris R. Keszler, DDS, passed away on Friday, June 14, 2013, at the age of 93. He was born in Eureka, South Dakota, on April 7, 1920, to John and Christina Keszler. In 1925, the Keszler family moved to Washington State and then in 1931 to Lodi, California.
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In 1943, Chris married LaVeta Irene Vance. They were married for 65 happy years. During that time they built their home in Lodi and enjoyed working side by side in their dental practice and on their many and varied interests until LaVeta's passing in 2009. Chris is survived by his children, Gary Keszler, DDS, (Marlene) of Ukiah, California; Tena Graves (John) of Ukiah, California; and Camy Baker (Fred) of Lodi, California; grandchildren, Sarah Rowland, MD, (Jeff), Heidi Tollini (Matt), Scott Graves (Allison), Brett Graves, Tyler Baker, DDS, (Rachel), and Peter Baker; and great grandchildren Megan, Seth & Kate Rowland, Hunter & Rosalia Tollini, Elias & Sophia Graves, and Elin Baker.
Chris is also survived by his brother, John Keszler (Irene) and his sister, Ellen Lewis, both of Lodi, California. He was preceded in death by his sister, Esther Mohr; brother, Jake Keszler; and sister, Emma Hein.
In 2010, Chris and Genevieve J. Tonge, of Modesto, California, were married; their lives enriched living in both Lodi and Modesto.
Chris graduated from Lodi Academy, attended Pacific Union College, Angwin, California, and in 1947 received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco, California (now UOP School of Dentistry). Chris twice served in the United States Army, 1st during World War II, and then again during the Korean Conflict.
In 1947, Chris opened his dental practice on Lodi Avenue. He treated patients until he was 90 years old. He was noted as one of the oldest active dentists at his 60th class reunion on 2007. His staff and patients remember Chris for his gentle touch and steady hands. His love for Dentistry inspired his children to pursue careers in Orthodontics and Dental Hygiene.
In the 1950s, Chris along with his father and brothers Johnny & Jake developed medical and commercial offices along Lodi Avenue. Also, Kristmont Acres on Lodi Avenue, was planned and developed where he and LaVeta built their beloved family home on the corner of Cabrillo Circle and Lodi Avenue. Family, friends, and classmates were always welcome, and Chris and LaVeta hosted many dinners, weddings, class reunions, and open houses.
Chris continued to develop fine residential subdivisions in Lodi including Glenhurst, Sunwest Units 1-14, Bridgetowne, and Sunwest Meadows with various friends and associates. Chris enjoyed designing and developing custom home projects where, in large part, individuals could purchase, design, and build their own homes.
It is hard to say which captured his interest more, airplanes or automobiles. His favorite airplane was his v-tailed turbo Beechcraft Bonanza which he flew across the States many times attending Dental Conventions, air shows, and visiting family members and friends. For many years he was a member of the Civil Air Patrol where he volunteered to search for missing pilots and airplanes.
He had a knowledge of and fondness for all kinds of automobiles. At one time or another one could see different makes of cars, including, Lincolns, Volkswagens, Mercedes, parked in the breezeway – usually hand washed and ready for any road trip. He remembered every car that he had owned, the model and year. But it was the VW Vanagan that was the workhorse – often loaded with flats of flowers to color the garden beds.
During his life Chris travelled extensively throughout the world visiting every continent. His last major trips were to China, Antarctica, and a cruise down the Danube River when he was 90.
Chris was a Gentle man who will be enormously missed by his family, friends, and those whose lives he touched. A memorial service will be held, Saturday, June 29, at Fairmont Seventh-day Adventist Church at 3:30 located at 730 S. Fairmont Ave. in Lodi. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Lodi Academy's Endowment Fund, 1230 S. Central Avenue, Lodi, CA 95240 or your
. A virtual register may be signed at www.lodifuneralhome.com where memories can be shared. Lodi Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Lodi Funeral Home
725 South Fairmont Lodi, CA 95240
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from June 21 to June 29, 2013