Mary Margaret Kessler, my beloved big sis, passed suddenly at her home in Lawrenceville, Ga on Monday, August 31, 2020 at the age of 69.
Mary was born in Augusta, Ga on April 01,1951 to the late Margaret & Fred O. Kessler, Jr., MD. The oldest of 4, she always paved the way—teaching, guiding, and attempting to keep us out of trouble.
Although born in Augusta, Mary grew up in Savannah. She attended Charles Ellis Elementary School, Richard Arnold Middle School, and Savannah High School (Class of 1969). She received a Bachelor of Science from Armstrong State College in 1973 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia in 1976. She was a member of the Ga Nursing Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Sigma Kappa Sorority.
Mary would dedicate the rest of her life to taking care of others as an RN. Starting out as the head nurse in our father’s Family Practice, Mary went on to work in other medical settings—-Candler General Hospital in surgery, on the rehab unit, and in nursing administration. She then moved onto Advantage Home Health and then to Savannah Plastic Surgery where she performed the preoperative evaluations…always professional but quick with a smile or joke to calm her patients’ fears.
Not one to rest on her laurels—-Mary kept active in her off time with the things she loved—Savannah, St. Patrick’s Day, Tybee, the arts, and the catholic church. She was a member of St. John the Baptist. Devoting time and her perfect harmonious, melodious, full alto voice to the Deanery Choir under Patty Schreck’s direction. She marched each year in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with her fellow LAOH ladies (Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians) until her departure to Atlanta. During the 80’s/90’s Mary was prop mistress for numerous plays for all the local community theatres.
Not only a woman of science but Mary was a woman of music—hanging out in the jazz bars listening to Emma Kelly or Joe Jones—enjoying a riff or two. There wasn’t an instrument she couldn’t tame from 1st clarinet in the SHS band/symphony to oboe, piano, guitar, harmonica, and concertina—-she learned them all.
Despite all that was thrown at you, I am amazed by all you accomplished and how well you lived. You never met a stranger. You gave so much of yourself in oh so many ways and in return you were loved by all you touched. I will cherish forever our life together—especially Tybee time… long, lazy summer days and bug filled nights at our family’s summer home. Hot, grueling walks up what seemed like Sahara dunes to get to the north shores. Hours spent rowing and crabbing in the creeks with our great aunts and mom. Then bringing our catch home and boiling them in the black witch’s cauldron under the old oak tree. Good times——Tybee times—-always loved and forever remembered. To paraphrase from one of your writings: just as you have been in life, so shall you be in death..forever for as long as I live, I will see your eyes and smile in mine blended together for all eternity we are two in one…sisters forever.
Mary was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents Marguerite Entelmann Kessler and Fred Otto Kessler, Sr.; her maternal grandparents Mary Eliza Weeks Byers and William Joseph Byers, Sr.; her uncles William Joseph Byers, Jr. and William Nathaniel; her parents Margaret Mary Byers Kessler and Fred Otto Kessler, Jr., MD; and her niece Claudia Byers Kessler Faller.
Mary is survived by her brother Fred Otto Kessler, III (Ann); her two sisters Judith Susanne Kessler (Roberta M. Smith, MD) and Diane Claudia Kessler Smith (Ricky); Uncle Julius C. Byers, Aunt Barbara Byers; cousins Belinda Byers and William J. Byers (Lynn) as well as numerous nieces/nephews and great nieces/nephews.
She also leaves behind her very special Atlanta family who travelled the world with her, loved and cared for her the 8 years she lived there. They were her rock in her final years and now mine. Thank you Janet Randall, Szymon Laczny, Adam Randall Laczny, and Lisa Bain for filling Mary’s days with love and happiness.
Graveside services will be held Saturday September 26, 2020 at 2:00 at Bonaventure in the family plot on Mullryne Way. Father Schreck will be officiating.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. John the Baptist, St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Cystic Fibrosis Foundations, or cure http://arthritis.org.
Mary was one of the sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. So quick with a smile & a joke and a twinkle in her eye. I loved that she always greeted me with "Hellow My Friend". She made you feel special & loved. She will be greatly missed by so many people.
- Caro Finch Barrett, Savannah, GA
Judith. I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how special sisters are (I have 2). My condolences to your family. Love, Betsi
- Betsi Egan, Savannah, Georgia
Judith: What a beautifully written memorial to your sister. I am so very sorry for your loss. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. What an amazing lady, just as you are!
- Jan Kirk, Bluffton, SC
Oh, my goodness, Mary, so many happy memories of time spent with you. I know you’re streamlining heaven with love and joy. Love you! Katherine, Jamie, John Keena and Your box buddy Laura Keena Wild
- Keena family , Savannah , GA
Such a wonderful person. RIP Mary. I will sure miss your stories my friend.
- Shannon Foley Slaughter, Bloomingdale, Ga
So sorry for your loss Judith. Your story of her life is beautiful. You have such fond memories. God bless you.
- Mary Jo Adams, Savannah, Ga
Dear Fred and families, What a beautiful memorial. Mary is smiling down from heaven. May God's loving arms wrap you in comfort during this sad time. Margaret Mitchell Costa
- Costa, Jacksonville , Florida
I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Mary and I went to Armstrong State College together. She was in Nursing and I in Dental Hygiene. She also had a smile with her hello for you. I know she is taking charge in heaven today! May God comfort her family. May Perpetual Light Shine Upon her.
- Larry and Julia Dyer Strickland, Savanah, Ga
Mary was a great person we had the pleasure of knowing. I have a short video of Mary removing stitches from my daughter's hand at our kitchen table, all the while talking calmly to her while "princess" cried. We're really going to miss her and her comments on F B.
- Billy and Caro Barrett, Sav., Ga.
Mary was a very close and dear friend. She dedicated her life to helping others out in medicine. I played Sax in the Armstrong Band She was a wonderful musician I next to her for 3 years. I always respected her. I know she has crossed over to Heaven. One day we will she her again.
- Rev. Dr. Tom Maddox, Naples, Fl. 34114
I am so sorry for your loss. I remember Mary from my visits to her dad's practice. She was always cheerful, helpful and informative about her duties. Your family has always had a special place in my heart. Rest In Peace, Mary.
- WILLIAM HARVEY WILMOTH, WARNER ROBINS, GA
Mary was one of a kind wonderful person. SO many wonderful memoriesof my friend. She will be missed by all whos life she touched we are so sorry for your loss.
- Barbara and Jamie Gillespie, Savannah, Ga
May she Rest In Peace.
- Stanley de Vegter, Savannah, Georgia
Mary and I were in nursing school together at Armstrong. She had that special laugh and twinkle in her eyes that made the challenges so much more fun. My first injection was given to Dr. Kessler with Mary calming my nerves. She was very special to me and my brother Andy Parrish. The world has lost a precious soul.
- Rebecca Parrish Miller, Dallas , Texas
On behalf of Mary's classmates from her 1969 Class of Savannah High School, we just want to express love and support for her family, gratitude for the wonderful times we shared with her during our high school years and at our 50th Reunion in June of 2019, and respect and appreciation for her caring service for others in her lifetime chosen profession of Nursing. Four of us were able to pay our respects at her service (Becky Anstine Bolt, Vivian C. Orrel-Ryals, Sissy Goldberg Hoffman and Glenda E. A. Anderson) and several others who were not able to attend have expressed condolences via email (Charlotte Webb Bacon, Nancy Cunningham, Frances Hurst Conner, Marilyn Montgomery, Linda Coleman Friedman, and Jeannine Evans Taylor). We will remember your tremendous spirit!
- Glenda E A Anderson, Savannah, GA