Betty Lou Kessler, 89, long time Kansas resident, passed away on Friday, September 13, 2019, at Atria Senior Living Residence in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is dearly missed by family and friends.
Betty was born on August 11, 1930, in Ransom, Kansas, the daughter of Harold Schuyler and Alma Rosetta (Grisell) See. She grew up in Ransom, sister to brothers Billie Joe and Charles, where she was Valedictorian of her senior class. Twice receiving National 4-H honors, she was accomplished as a seamstress, woodworker, high school athlete, and multi-talented musician. She attended Fort Hays State College in Hays, Kansas, where she pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in music education, was a member of the Alpha Pi chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, met her future husband, and was featured in 1952 “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.” Soon after graduation, on June 07, 1952, Betty was joined in marriage with Richard Sam Kessler in Ransom, Kansas. From this union they raised three children, Charles, Jolene and Brenda. Betty and Richard remained in Kansas and shared a life rich with common interests throughout their fifty-three year marriage. They resided in McCracken, Russell, Hays, and Lawrence before moving to Wichita in 1976, where they lived for more than thirty-five years. Betty was a dedicated music teacher in her local schools for thirty years, and had a passion for creating individualized learning opportunities for students. In Hays, she completed a Master’s Degree in Music Education and an Education Specialist Degree at Fort Hays State College. In Lawrence, she served as an enthusiastic and dedicated president of the Lawrence Education Association. After thirty years, Betty retired from teaching in 1982, and redirected her energy and love of working with people into a second career in real estate. Joining Anita Frey, then Plaza Del Sol Realty, she became a highly successful real estate agent in Wichita. For twenty-five years she loved to help families find the perfect home and made many lasting friendships in the process. She and Richard shared interests in photography, gardening, musical theater, the Kansas City Chiefs, KU sports teams, and traveling to pursue genealogical research and to visit family in Las Vegas, Hawaii, Boston, Italy, and Virginia. She particularly loved spending time with family and friends.
Old family photos sparked a passion in Betty for family history and genealogy. She inherited her grandfather’s diary, written while he served as a White House guard for President Lincoln during the Civil War. Always a history buff, Richard was a willing travel companion while they researched pieces of the story ‘on the road,’ often one tiny cemetery at a time. Following Richard’s death on May 05, 2005, Betty remained an active member of the First United Methodist Church and the Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society. She worked to complete a transcription of her grandfather’s diary begun by a cousin, and donated it to the Soldier’s Home, a museum in Washington D.C. dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, where she was honored in a public reception when the conserved diary was placed on view.
Several years after Richard’s death, Betty moved nearer to family in Las Vegas, Nevada; then to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she remained until her death.
Surviving family include her son Charles (Chuck) Kessler and wife Becky of Las Vegas, Nevada and daughters Jolene Kessler of Boston, Massachusetts and Brenda McCanon and husband Brian of Lexington, Virginia; ten grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, husband Richard, and two brothers, Charles Herman and Billie Joe See.
Betty’s love for Kansas and her desire to return never wavered. Though we are sad at her passing, we are happy to welcome her back home.
A celebration of Betty’s life will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Monday, September 30, 2019, at the Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary in Russell, Kansas. Burial will follow at the Russell City Cemetery. Family will greet guests the day of the service. Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary of Russell, Kansas, is in charge of the funeral service arrangements.