We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Ellinger-Kunz & Park Funeral Home & Cremation Service
James H. Kessler, age 69, of Witt, IL, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at 11:35 a.m., in Springfield, IL, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
The son of James Henry Kessler and Ethel Elizabeth Marshall, James was born October 18, 1952, in Milwaukee, WI.
He graduated as a SpeedBoy from Witt High School, IL on May 29, 1970. James served his country honorably (1972-1975) in the Army 101st Airborne Division as a surveyor in Germany. The Army designated him an M-16 Expert, a Sharpshooter, and the National Defense Service Medal. After the service, he wandered into the Lighterside Christian Coffee house in Springfield, IL, where he became a Christian. He attended and graduated from Mid-America Teen Challenge Center in Cape Girardeau, MO, in 1976.
James married Valerie Jolene Buell of Springfield, Illinois on September 10, 1977. He graduated from Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, TX, on December 14, 1980, with a theological degree and became an ordained minister of the Gospel on November 18th, 1984, through Newman Park Church in Dallas, TX. He loved the Bible and passionately studied the Word. James loved worship music, playing his guitar and harmonica. In his lifetime he served in various ministries as associate pastor, prophetic counselor, Christian school principal, evangelist, and missionary. He traveled to Australia, Nicaragua, St. Martin, Curacao and throughout the United States to preach the Good News. A masterful carpenter, James built homes, custom free-standing staircases, and handcrafted a 14 ft. schooner sailboat he named “ValSaRae”. He enjoyed writing and in 1998, co-wrote the book Wealth or Mammon. He also loved coaching his boys in little league baseball. For years, James owned exotic animals and performed “The Jungle” presentations in schools using his animals to teach children life lessons. He is survived by his 7 children and their mother: Matthew (Kelli) Kessler of Pana, IL, Jonathan Kessler of Springfield, IL, Michael (Tara) Kessler of Rochester, IL, David Kessler of Decatur, IL, Rachel Kessler of Springfield, IL, Daniel Kessler of Decatur, IL, Sarah (John) Scheller of Pleasant Plains, IL, 12 grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his sisters Mary Ann, Theresa and Marty Kessler, as well as his brothers Charles and Bill (Loretta) Kessler, all of Witt, IL. His brothers and sisters showed him great love and care in his passing. He was preceded in death by his parents James Henry Kessler and Ethel Marshall, two brothers George and Donald Kessler, and his grandparents Harry and Rose Marshall of Decatur, IL, and George “Earl” and Jessie Kessler of Irving, IL.
Visitation will be held at Ellinger-Kunz & Park Funeral Home on Thursday, May 26th, 5:30-8 p.m. The location is at 530 N. 5th St, Springfield, IL, 62702. West Side Christian Church will host a Celebration of Life starting at 10:00 a.m., Friday, May 27th, located at 2850 Cider Mill Lane, Springfield, IL, 62702. James’ service will be officiated by his eldest son, Rev. Matthew Kessler, and his closest brother in the Lord, Rev. Ray Landers.
James Kessler will be interred at Camp Butler on Saturday, May 28th at 1 p.m., with full military honors. The cemetery is located at 5063 Camp Butler Rd, Springfield, IL, 62707. Memorials can be made to Faith Bible Christian Academy (FBCA) in Rosamond, Illinois, where James sent his children to receive their faith-based education.