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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Saying goodbye

to my soulmate was so much harder than I could ever imagine.  The weather was the best spring day I could have hoped for.  It enabled all of us to walk from the parking lot to the pavilion where the service was held.  The military portion was first and quite moving and poignant.  Pastor Paul Spangler continued the service with scripture, prayers and a bit more about Walt's life and our life we met, our cruise problems, etc.  Old friends from the temple in Springfield were there as well as colleagues from his early days in the Statehouse to an employee when Walt was the Director of LIS.  Neighbors, childhood friends of mine, and all my family except for one niece were there to witness what a special man he was.  Oh Walt, I miss you so much!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Final arrangements

Walter J. Kesselman, 75, passed away March 30, 2017 at home in Monticello, IL. He was born August 18, 1941 in Rockville Centre, NY to Jacob M. and Julia (Heinz) Kesselman. In 1961 Walt attended basic training for the USAF at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX. He was stationed at Rhine Main Air Base, Frankfort, Germany in the #7310 military police unit. After serving his tour of duty he became a part of the Nassau County Sheriff’s unit as a corrections officer then as a deputy. He went on to become a sales representative for the NY State Lottery, handing out the first $1,000,000 check. Walt married Randee Kaplan and to this union William was born. A call came from a friend that lured him to the political arena in Illinois. He was a member of the Republican staff on the Appropriations Committee for the House of Representatives, later becoming Chief of Staff. From there he went on to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as Assistant Director. A few years later he was named Director for the Legislative Information System. It was during this time that he met his soulmate, Susan Fowler. Changes in the political atmosphere led Walt to make another move. He and Susan headed east in 1984 where he took the position as the Director of Information Systems for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus. Once again, a change in the hierarchy influenced him to move, and he became an advisory consultant to the Nevada Legislature. This was only a temporary stop as he knew he wanted to be east of the Mississippi. Now married, Walt and Susan relocated to Piscataway, NJ where Walt was the implementation consultant for Bellcore. A few years later the company splintered; he accepted a position with Mitsui OSK Lines in central New Jersey, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. He spent over 20 years with them, first as a consultant for the implementation of international shipping system then as manager and director of the U.S. and international communications. His positions took him all over the United States, Europe, The Far East and Africa. Retirement beckoned in 2007 and the couple headed to Monticello, Susan’s home town. Here they were able to spend countless hours watching ‘Channel One’…enjoying the view to their backyard gardens and numerous birdfeeders. Fortunately they didn’t wait for their golden years to travel as Walt’s health was compromised with several bouts of cancer. They recall many happy memories including traversing the globe via air, land and sea. Walt leaves behind his wife, Susan; feline companion, Casey; son, William, nieces, nephews and cousins. He is predeceased by his parents; brother, Lou; and sister, Sandy. Mackey-Wright Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Camp Butler National Cemetery, Springfield with military rites accorded. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or a charity of your choice.
Walter J. Kesselman