|Judge William E. Kessler: A Man Who Touched Many Lives|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:00|
Whether it was through the crack of the gavel or the crunch of homemade cookies, Judge William E. Kessler touched many lives.
Known to many as Judge Bill, he died Jan. 30 at age 83.
A graduate of Tippecanoe High School, Judge Kessler served as Tipp City’s prosecutor and was a Miami County prosecutor and Common Pleas judge before becoming the county’s first Municipal Court judge.
Following retirement from that court, he continued working as a visiting judge for courts in Lima and Springfield. He was working until early January, his son, Charles Kessler, said.
“He loved being a judge. He enjoyed the work in Lima and Springfield,” Charles Kessler said. “People said he was a fair judge.”
Jewel Curtis of Troy worked with Judge Kessler from 1976-1999.
“I have a heavy heart for I have lost an irreplaceable friend. Judge Bill was one of the good guys. He was the voice of calm and reason and without question in charge,” Curtis said.
He loved his wife, Betty; children; and grandchildren “immensely,” she said. “I feel honored to have known him, worked with him and will forever cherish the happy memories of those golden hours together. He was a best friend.”
Retired Tipp City Police Sgt. Ron Re said Judge Kessler could be seen walking in the community and often stopped by the police station when it was located downtown.
He’d put on educational programs for officers and give talks for the department’s crime prevention program along with tips for how people could assist the police department, Re said.
When Re reorganized the school safety patrol, Judge Kessler would come by and swear in the student patrol members, he said.
“He was a good man to us,” Re recalled. “He did a lot of things for the community people didn’t know about.”
Judge Kessler was fair from the bench, Re said. “He was fair to everybody. He questioned a ticket. He wanted to make sure the officer did everything right before he found the guy (charged) guilty,” he said.
Gary Zuhl, the Municipal Court’s magistrate, worked with Judge Kessler as a municipal court prosecutor and as a magistrate for about a year. “He required you to do what you needed to do, but he didn’t adopt this attitude that he was better than everyone else,” Zuhl said. “It did make working with him fun.”
When the judge retired, the county’s men’s halfway house was named in his honor because of his commitment to such programs.
At the holidays, Judge Kessler would offer visitors to his courthouse office a homemade cookie. They included anise cookies like his (the judge’s) mother used to make, Charles Kessler said. He also was known for his rice crispy treats that he’d make and share with people such as staff at the cancer care center and fellow members of the board of Hospice of Miami County.
Everyone mentioned Judge Kessler’s commitment to family including his late wife, Betty; children Charles, Cheryl and William; 13 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Charles Kessler said his father also loved his trips to Canada, where he had a home, loved to fish and, over the years, amassed many friends.
He said he and his dad talked daily. “He was very generous. He enjoyed being able to share,” Charles Kessler said.
“He was always a solid rock; always there for you,” he said.