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George L. Kessel

1925 - 2019
George L. Kessel Obituary
George L. Kessel

Naples - George L. Kessel, a Naples resident since 1989, passed away on November 30, 2019. Born April 18, 1925 in Fargo, ND to George C. and Helen M. Kessel and raised in Devil's Lake, ND, West Bend, WI, Elgin and Peoria, IL. From 1939 to 1941 he attended St. John's Military Academy in Delafield, WI where he was a three sport athlete and played the alto sax in the marching band. His last two years of high school were in Ottumwa, IA where he was a member of the 1942 Iowa state high school championship basketball team. Upon graduation in 1943 he was inducted into the Army. Following basic infantry training and a brief stint at Northeastern University in Boston, he was assigned to the 26th (Yankee) Infantry Division at Fort Jackson, SC. The 26th was part of the first convoy to sail directly from NYC to France, landing at Cherborg on September 7, 1944 and becoming part of Gen. Patton's 3rd Army. His service with the 26th ended with his evacuation to the hospital Thanksgiving week, 1944. Discharged in January 1946, he was the recipient of the Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Bronze Star and three Battle Stars. On June 6, 2007 he was one of thirty-two WWII southwest Florida veterans awarded the French Legion of Honor for their part in the liberation of France.

George graduated from Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA in 1949 having lettered in basketball for three years. He joined the Employee Benefits Division of Aetna Life Insurance Co. in July 1951. While training in Hartford he had a blind date with Barbara Dell leading to their marriage in 1953. Their career with Aetna took them to Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, Buffalo and, finally, to Columbus, OH where, in 1986, he retired as General Manager.

George's community activities along the way include serving as Director and Coach in the Mt. Lebanon, PA Little League, election to the Mt. Lebanon School Board and Director of the Orchard Park, NY Country Club. In April 1989 he and Barbara moved to Pelican Bay in Naples as full time residents… first at Willow Brook and in 1998 to Breakwater. In 2014 he moved to Arbor Trace. He has been an active member of the Imperial Golf Club, Pelican Bay tennis and is a past Deacon of the Naples United Church of Christ. In the early '90's he and Barbara were approached by an agent resulting in numerous modeling assignments, usually together, in local TV commercials, promotional videos and print work in various media.

George was predeceased by his parents; sister, Jevne Kessel-Riley and his beloved wife of 55 years. He is survived by his son, Steve of Leicester, NC; daughter, Andrea (Chris) Fabry of Vail, AZ; and grandchildren, Mallory, Erin, Megan, Shannon, Ryan, Regan, Kristen, Kaitlyn, Colin and Brandon. Memoriams may be sent to: The Arbor Pointe Foundation, Inc., 1000 Arbor Lake Dr., Naples, FL 34110. No local service is planned. In the very near future, George will join Barbara for interment in Arlington National Cemetery. For online condolences, please visit
Published in Naples Daily News from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5, 2019
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