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Alvin Bruce Kessler

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Services to celebrate the life of Alvin Bruce Kessler will be held Thursday, June 9, 2011 in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Shreveport at 11:00 am. Officiating will be Dr. Greg Hunt, former pastor of First Baptist Church. Visitation will be 4-7 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at Marshall Street Rose-Neath Funeral Home. Internment will be 1:00 pm Friday, June 10, 2011 at St. Louis cemetery in Eunice, LA. Alvin Bruce Kessler departed this earthly life for his eternal home with Jesus, the Father and many he loved who went ahead of him, at 4:40 pm June 3, 2011. Born August 14, 1926, he lived 84 years serving God, his nation, state and community. As Father Pike Thomas said at an anointing service, “Alvin was a shining example of what a senior citizen should be …he did more to improve his community and state and helped more people after he was 65 than most people do in their entire life”. Al was born in Eunice, LA., the youngest of nine children, to parents Verda Allen and William Henry Kessler. In heaven, he is now re-united with his parents, two brothers, Howard and Willis, three sisters, Lora Murrell, Ruby Kessler and baby Margaret and his first wife, Sarah Lanelle Bryant Kessler. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Mary Elizabeth Pender Kessler; son, Charles Willis Kessler and fiancée, Mary Jo Myers; two wonderful granddaughters, Remi Simone Kessler and Camille Lanelle Kessler of Pueblo, Colorado. Al is also survived by his sisters, Mayme Stagg, Frances Terry, Carrie Williamson; a large number of nieces, nephews, cousins; sister-in-law, Dee Cottingham Woolsey and husband, Eddie; and a multitude of friends. Al loved his large family and was proud of their accomplishments. Al graduated from Eunice High School and joined the Navy at age 17. He served in the Pacific Theater aboard the destroyer USS Ernest G. Small and aircraft carrier USS Siboney as Quartermaster 3rd class. He was on his way to the invasion of Japan when the bomb was dropped that ended WWII thus saving many lives, both allied and Japanese. After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Al enrolled at LSU Baton Rouge earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration while working as an Athletic Trainer with the LSU Tiger Football team. He started his first job in 1952 with Southern Bell as a coin telephone collector. Al learned of and talked his way into the Management Training Program. Over a number of years he held various positions in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Winnsboro and Monroe. In 1962 he returned to Shreveport where he remained until retirement from AT&T in 1984 as Operations Manager for the State of Louisiana. After retirement from AT&T, he worked for the Greater Shreveport Economic Development Foundation for seven years and also served as Interim Executive Vice President of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Al was instrumental in bringing several industries to Shreveport while at the Chamber and later as a self-employed consultant. He attended Real Estate School and became a licensed commercial Real Estate agent. Much joy of the last years of Al’s life came from being a member, officer, and President, of the Shreveport Downtown Rotary Club. Always active in civic affairs, Al’s last challenge was the completion of I-49 North to the Arkansas border. After serving eight years as I-49 Coalition Chairman his health required he resign in 2010. Al did live to hear that funding for the completion of I-49 was achieved. Unable to speak, he raised his hands and clapped at the news. Al was recognized as Outstanding Young Businessman of Baton Rouge and as 2001 Business Leader of Shreveport. He was a life member of the Lion’s Club, Louisiana Industrial Development Executive Association, Southern Economic Development Council, Telephone Pioneers, and a 50 year member of the Shrine and Masonic Order. He served as VP of the Baton Rouge Junior Chamber of Commerce, VP, Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee of LSU Shreveport, Chairman of the Air Force Communications and Electronics Association, helped form the Barksdale Chapter, was active with the Shreveport Executive Association, Committee of One Hundred, Bio-Medical Research Foundation, helped form The Foundation for the Arts, Music and Entertainment of Shreveport, and was appointed Metropolitan Chairman of the National Alliance of Businessmen by Richard M. Nixon. He led many successful United Way and U.S. Savings Bond Campaigns, was a Holiday in Dixie Ambassador, active in the Cotillion Club, Plantation Club, Friends of the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum and member of the Petroleum Club. He was a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity of LSU Baton Rouge and helped form a Chapter of Delta Chi at Louisiana Tech- Ruston, working with them for 19 years. Al was a graduate of the LSU Mid South Executive Development Program, was a Certified Industrial Developer from the University of Oklahoma at Norman and influenced many younger developers to pursue further education and certification. He took great pleasure in seeing those he mentored accomplish more than he had. Al was appointed by former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco as a member of the Louisiana Executive Department State Board of Commerce and Industry. Al was enrolled in the Cradle Role of the Baptist Church of Eunice the day after his birth and accepted Christ as his Savior at age 10. Al was a member of First Baptist Church in Shreveport for 50 years and was elected a deacon in 1964. In 2008, Al and Dr. Charles Black were named the first Honor Deacons in the Church’s 166 years. Honoring Al as pallbearers will be John Anderson, David Dodd, Forrest Dunn, Frank Mosley, Mike Philpot, Gene Powell, Dave Sandifer, John Shaw, Joe Thomas, and Gard Wayt. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be The Men’s Thursday Morning Prayer Group and Dr. Robert Wilson’s Sunday School Class. The family would like to thank Dr. John C. Hardin, III for all of his medical care, support, and friendship throughout the years for Al and family members. Al and his family are eternally grateful to Venessa James, Maria Mitchell, Ella and Melissa Patterson, Gladys Ross, Sandra Sandifer, Carla Sims, and Sherri Taylor who provided such kind, compassionate and professional care during the last several weeks. Al would be honored by memorials made to any of the below: First Baptist Church of Shreveport, 543 Ockley Dr. Shreveport, LA 71106. The Rotary Foundation of Shreveport PO Box 380 Shreveport, LA 71162. Louisiana State Exhibit Museum P.O. Box 38356 Shreveport, LA 71133 or the charity of your choice.

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