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Alfred M. (Al) Kessler

1923 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Alfred M. (Al) Kessler Obituary
Alfred M. Kessler

AGE: 93 • Wilmington

Alfred (Al) M. Kessler, of Wilmington, DE, passed away peacefully on December 24, 2016.

Al was born on February 6, 1923 in Atlantic City, NJ, the son of Irving & Beatrice Kessler. They passed on a wonderful demeanor, attraction for people, and commitment to hard work and family. Al graduated Atlantic City High School in 1940 and became a premed student at Susquehanna University where he played football. Although he had a college exemption from the Armed Services, at 18, he shelved his medical career to enlist in the US Army Air Force for active duty in World War II. He was a bomber pilot who served in England and North Africa, from which he conducted bombing missions over Germany. On one such mission, he was 1 of only 2 who returned from a 20 bomber squadron. Like many of what Tom Brokaw has labeled the Greatest Generation, he never spoke a word about his valiant war service until recently to his grandchildren. When just a few weeks ago, sons Alan and Steve asked their father why he had never discussed the war, he softly replied that "It was because you saw things you were not meant to see."

After three years of active duty, at a return celebration party in Atlantic City, he met and married the love of his life Josephine (Jo) Taub in 1947. After a brief time in Washington, DC, they made their life in Wilmington, DE with their two children, Alan and Steve. Al worked for many years at the Wohl Shoe Company managing the well-known Bendheim's Shoe Stores, until his retirement at age 65. He was well known in the community not only for his expertise in the shoe business, but for his ability to connect with people. After 67 years of blessed marriage, Al lost his beloved Jo, who passed away in January 2015. Al resided in Forwood Manor Senior Living over the last two years and loved the community and being a fixture in it.

Al's priorities in life were his family and his friends. He adored and revered his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who were a constant presence in his and Jo's lives, and who returned that love many fold. Al was limitless in his dedication to his many friends, always there to provide emotional and, when needed, financial support, and play a large part in their lives. His perpetual friendly, good natured and always upbeat personality was infectious. Al had a great sense of humor, and was humble and generous to a fault. In his presence, his smile and way with people made you feel as though you were the most important person in the world. He was also a Renaissance man with many varied interests that included being a trained concert pianist, jazz and big band music, appreciation of the arts, a love of sports, reading, history, politics, government, and his beloved stamp and coin collection. Al was a dedicated member of Congregation Beth Shalom for over 60 years.

Al is survived by his children: Alan Kessler (Gail) of Wynnewood, PA and Steve Kessler (Barb) of Wilmington; grandchildren: Anastasia (Stacy) (Gianluigi), Mark, Brian, and Dan; and great grandchildren: Valentina and Gianluca.

A memorial service will be 1:00 pm, Sunday, January 8, 2016 at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1801 Baynard Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19802. Shiva will be observed the evenings of January 8 and 9, with the memorial service starting at 7:00 PM each night, at the Forwood Manor Bistro Room, 1912 Marsh Road, Wilmington, DE 19810. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Congregation Beth Shalom or to the .


Published in The News Journal from Jan. 1 to Jan. 6, 2017
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