Robert Given Kesel July 26th, 1928 – September 23rd, 2009 Robert Kesel, born on July 26th, 1928 in Aurora, IL at Copley Hospital, to Robert and Helen Kesel. He attended West Aurora High School, graduated with honors (class of ’46); served as captain of the debate team and as sports editor of the school paper. He attended the University of Illinois and earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1950. He subsequently served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army in the Korean War. He was accepted to law school, yet decided to answer a call to the ministry and entered Princeton Theological Seminary. He graduated in ’57 and then served as Assistant Pastor at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church from ’57 to ’59. He then took the position of head Pastor at Cedar Park Presbyterian Church in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia. While at Cedar Park, he met and married Dolores Press and had three sons, Robert, who died in infancy, William and Stephen. While at Cedar Park, he shepherded the parish through a turbulent period of racial integration. As a result of these efforts, he was made an honorary member of a local chapter of the NAACP. In his spare time, he pitched for the church’s softball team and led them to a league victory. In 1971, he accepted a call to the Media Presbyterian Church, where he served as Head Pastor for 22 years. While at MPC, he was an ecumenical leader and reached across denominational and racial lines to facilitate new relationships between parishes. Realizing the importance of a vital youth outreach he recruited Jack Berghorst, who grew the MPC youth program from almost non-existent to one which was well regarded in the Media area. Many young people, through his leadership and the strength of this program, were inspired to answer calls to the pastoral ministry and the mission field. “Pastor Bob’s” influence helped unify the membership of MPC, which launched it on a trajectory of growth which continues to this day. With his support, his wife Dolores started an adult Sunday school and lay education program which continue to flourish. Along with his pastoral duties, Bob was also active in the Philadelphia Presbytery and served on the board of Presbytery Homes for 25 years. After retiring from active ministry in 1993, he and his wife Dolores, with the help of his parish, purchased a home near Marsh Creek State Park in Upper Uwchlan Twp. He and Dolores became active at the Fairview Presbyterian Church in Glenmoore, PA where he also served as Interim Pastor for a time and sang in the choir. The past few years were spent caring for his wife, who had suffered a stroke. In August of 2009, he and Dolores moved to Roanoke, VA to be near his son Bill. He died peacefully, with family by his side at the Brandon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on the afternoon of September 23rd. He survived by his wife, Dolores; his sister, Janet Hall; his sons, Bill and Steve. “In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Board of Pensions to help Presbyterian clergy and their families in need (pensions.org; click “Giving Opportunities”) or the Lance Armstrong Foundation (livestrong.org).” Services: Monday, September 28, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. in the Fairview Presbyterian Church 800 fairview Road Glenmoore, PA 19343. Visitation: Monday, from 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. at the church. Burial: In the church cemetery. Arrangements. J. Nelson Rigby Funeral Home, Media, PA.
Published in the Aurora Beacon News on Sept. 27, 2009