American Veteran 01

John "Jack" L. Kessler, Sr.

August 16, 1931 ~ May 18, 2020 (age 88)


KESSLER, John L. (Jack), Sr. of Traverse City, MI passed away on May 18, 2020 after living a full life of 88 years. Jack was born on August 16, 1931 in Flint, MI to Frank and Emma Kessler.  He married Donna Cole on July 2, 1955. They spent most of their marriage living in the Flint area before moving into their dream home on Old Mission peninsula in 2005. Jack attended Flint Northern High School and the General Motors Institute where he completed an apprenticeship program in Industrial Machine Repair.  Jack worked for General Motors (primarily Buick) for 37 years before retiring as a Maintenance Foreman in 1987.  He was a member of the Factory Management Council during his career. Jack was a longtime member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Flint where he made many life-long friends.  He was a passionate leader in the Boy Scouts of America, serving as assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 15 at St. Michael for many years and was particularly proud of the 5 Eagle Scouts in his family! He is survived by his wife, Donna and five children:  Terri Burden of Fenton, MI; John, Jr. (Ginger) of Bethany Beach, DE; Michael (Bridget) of Niles, MI; Jim of Tecumseh, MI and Karen Foster (Steve) of Oakdale, MN; 10 grandchildren:  Steven (Christine), Anthony (Ashley), Kyle (Devon), Allison (Stephen), Nick (Diane), Christa (Justin), Stephanie (Stephen), Lauren, Ian and Stephen and 7 great grandchildren:  Brynlee, Emma, Coleman, Braxton, Juliette, Finn and Orin. Jack was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Bill; son-in-law, Rob Burden and grandson, Jason Kessler. Jack served his country proudly.  He was a member of the US Army, 101st Airborne Division and served in Korea.  He proudly wore his Korean Veteran cap (actually several caps) for many years. He was a lifetime member of both the American Legion (Post 399) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (Cherryland Post 2780). Jack enjoyed fishing with his children and grandchildren and particularly his good friend, Phil Fieger.  He enjoyed golfing with his good friend and fellow duffer, George Mynsberge. He enjoyed Flint Style Coneys, spare ribs, Cracker Barrel meatloaf, a well done cheeseburger and Terri’s apple pie!  He was known to hide chocolates around his house and cars for all the grandchildren and was happiest when the kids were home. Due to the current health environment, Jack will be laid to rest at St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery on Old Mission Thursday, May 28, 2020 after a private family service.  A celebration of his life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family is directing donations to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy 3860 N. Long Lake Rd. Ste D, Traverse City MI 49684. Arrangements entrusted to Sharp Funeral Homes, Fenton Chapel, 1000 W. Silver Lake Rd., Fenton, MI 48430. Tributes may be shared at


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Private Service

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