Earl Marshall Kesler, age 95, of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, passed away Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Born in 1920, he was a son of the late Robert Lee and Elzabeth McQuain Kesler. Earl grew up in Clover Lick, and was a graduate of Marlinton High School. He received an associate degree from Potomac State College, Bachelor of Science degree from West Virginia University and both Master of Science degree and a PhD from Pennsylvania State University.
In 1943, he joined the Army Air Corps and served until 1946 as a navigator on a B-24 in the heavy bombardment group of the 15th Air Force stationed in Italy. His plane was shot down and he spent 10 months in Hungarian and German hospitals and POW camps.
Dr. Kelser was highly respected by his peers in his professional society, the American Dairy Science Association. During his professional career, he received a number of recognitions for his accomplishments and contribution to the dairy industry. These awards included – Distinguished Dairy Alumnus from the College of Agriculture at Pennsylvania State University; Distinguished Service Award from the northeast section of the American Society of Animal Science; and the Award of Merit for Research from Gamma Sigma Delta. His 65 graduate students have continued his legacy of excellence in the field of Dairy Science with outstanding achievements in teaching, research and service, both nationally and internationally. They have gained professional prominence at 12 different universities, as well as in the dairy industry. Within the American Dairy Science Association, seven of his students have won research awards, three teaching awards, two have served as editor of the Journal of Dairy Science, and one was recognized as a Fellow. The achievements of his students are a credit to his role as a mentor and represent a record that few in his profession have surpassed. The legacy that he gave the dairy industry, by way of the students that he trained, may have been his crowning achievement, and they certainly were his pride.
After completing his PhD in 1951, he remained on the faculty at Penn State until his retirement in 1984. Following his retirement he spent many years in volunteer service within the State College, Pennsylvania, area. He contributed more than 7,500 hours to Tri-County Habitat for Humanity, including serving as construction foreman for four of the 19 houses on which he worked. He also gave more than 20 years of service to the Boalsburg Heritage Museum, where he served on the board of directors, published a history of the museum and was heavily involved in the maintenance and preservation of the museum. The large barn that was erected on the property in 2008 was his project.
Dr. Kesler served as editor of the Harris Township newsletter for many years. He was active in St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for more than 65 years, where he served in many capacities and was a frequent Sunday School teacher. Other volunteer endeavors included working as a driver and treasurer for the Park Forest Day Nursery for 10 years and working for Centre Home Care. In later years, he became active in an ExPOW group and presented many lectures to interested organizations about his World War II and POW experiences.
Dr. Kesler leaves a legacy of dedication to the Dairy Industry, as well as a high value on education, generosity and volunteer service. He stands as a role model for the value of hard work and the generous giving of ones time, talents and financial blessings.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four siblings.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Wilna Brandenburg Kesler, of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; two daughters, Charlotte Fuquay, and husband, John, of Starkville, Mississippi, and Margaret Eberling, and husband, Mike, of Denver, North Carolina; a son, Alan Kesler, and wife, Carol, of Boston, Massachusetts; a brother, Ray Kesler, of Morgantown; five grandchildren, Michael Fuquay, David Fuquay, Nick Eberling, Kevin Eberling and Kelly Kesler; four great-grandchildren; and seven nieces and nephews.
Funeral service was October 10 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church with Rev. Greg Milinovich officiating.
Memorials may be made to the Earl M. Kesler Endowment at Penn State, www.agsci.psu.edu/giving; or St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 250 East College Avenue, State College, PA, 16801.
Online condolences may be made at www.kochfuneralhome.com