Dan Kessel, a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, was born on July 17, 1938, in Unity, Saskatchewan. Tomorrow would have been his 84th birthday and it means so much to have all of you gathered here today to celebrate his wonderful life.
Dan will be sadly missed by so many. But he is deeply loved, and his impacts will continue to ripple through his children, grandchildren and all those whose paths he crossed.
Dan’s family in Unity consisted of his parents and 12 brothers and sisters.
Dan was predeceased by his parents, John and Julia Kessel, and sisters Eva, Madeline, Leocadia, and Emily as well as his brothers, John, Valentine, Fred, and Leo.
Dan is lovingly remembered by his wife, Alma, daughter Corinne and son-in-law, Jethro, daughter, Jaime, and son-in-law, Alain, his brother and sister-in-law, Peter, and Melodie Kolisnyk, 3 grandchildren Sebastien, Katchen, and Nikita, his sisters, Barbara, Katie and Betty and he is held in the hearts of numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Dan started out in life on the family farm by Unity, Saskatchewan. He worked hard on the farm and many times regretted that he missed significant parts of his education as he had to miss school in September and October for harvesting and May and June for planting.
Dan’s first job was on the oil rigs. In 1968 he moved to Edmonton and started work at IPSCO, a pipe manufacturing company. His job was pipe inspection and he worked there for 34 years.
Alma and Dan married on October 21, 1972. This October they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They had two daughters, Corinne born in 1977 and Jaime born in 1979.
Hard working, loyal, caring, and deeply devoted to his family and community, Dan was a loving father who was always there for his daughters. From coaching their T-Ball teams, to maintaining the community league ice rink and letting Corinne and Jaime have first go at the fresh ice, to showing up to endless band concerts and driving them to all their extracurricular activities, he did so much for them, with never a complaint.
Both Corinne and Jaime were musicians. Corinne’s principal instrument was the trombone, but Jaime was a drummer and many times Dan had to pack her drum kit and haul it to a gig for Jaime. Jaime also did drum circles and owned about 60 djembe drums that lived in Alma and Dan’s basement. Dan could expertly pack these with no damage into his mini van and drive them to all of Jaime’s drum circles. Jaime and Corinne were part of many different rock bands and Dan endured all the noisy practices in his basement with no ear plugs.
Corinne’s fondest memories of her father are when as a young adult she moved to Vancouver from Edmonton and Dan would drive back and forth with her to help her move or to visit. She will always cherish those long drives together, just the two of them, and those long talks will forever be in her heart.
Dan’s ability to talk to absolutely anyone, anywhere, anytime is surpassed by none and his laughter would instantly bring joy to the room. Well, maybe, Jaime was a close match to Dan as her report card comments from kindergarten to Grade Twelve always included, “too much socialization!” Dan was kind, generous, and welcoming and said “Well, do you wanna beer?” more times than we can count to every guest in his home and many people reminisced about this on FaceBook.
While Dan and Alma were married, they always worked hard on Alma’s parents’ farm helping with baling, harvesting, gardens, and lawns. Dan worked shift work and then on the weekends and holidays worked long hours on the farm along with Alma.
After Alma’s parents and grandparents moved from the farm to Thorhild, Alberta, Dan and Alma continued spending every weekend tending the huge gardens, lawns, hedges, and house cleaning on both properties.
Dan and Alma did not do too much traveling as they were always working on the farm. Their two favourite holidays were a Europe Tour in which they travelled to England, France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. The other trip was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway all the way to Mexico and then returning inland through Las Vegas. They enjoyed many weekends and summer trips camping with Corinne and Jaime at Long Lake, trips to BC, Jasper, and Kananaskis.
Alma was part of Girl Guides for 38 years and Dan was involved every step of the way. He helped drive gear and supplies to all the Guide camps and would deliver papers and other items to Guide leaders for Alma when she was the Division and District Commissioner for 10 years. The guiders lovingly called him “Dan, Dan, the Deliveryman”. Every May he would help clean up the camp at Sandy Lake and chop enough wood for the girls for all summer. He received the Silver Thanks Award for years of dedicated service to Girl Guides.
The Edmonton Area Girls Guides always have an event in spring called Hike for Plenty which was an event to gather items for the Food Bank. Dan was always at the Food Bank Truck to help girls and guiders unload the donations from their cars and onto the Food Bank truck. Many times he took a herd of Pathfinders or Rangers to the Bonnie Doon food court for hot chocolate.
Alma and Dan were also involved with the Cancer Society Daffodil Days for 21 years. On daffodil weekend, Dan would pick up a van full of daffodils from the Muttart Conservatory and would deliver them to Capilano Mall where the Girl Guides would sell them to the public. The event was always extremely successful, and Dan made many trips all day long on Saturday to pick up more and more daffodils. The Capilano location brought in about $5 000 – the most of any location in the City. Dan was always very proud of that fundraising accomplishment. In recognition of his service, Dan received the Daffodil Certificate of Appreciation from the Cancer Society.
Dan was also very devoted to his Kenilworth Community. He made the ice for the community and was also the Buildings and Grounds person for many years. He cared for the community centre as lovingly as his own home and made sure everything was fixed and maintained very well. He was always very proud of his work. He met many people at the community and everyone described him as very friendly, kind, and patient. He received the Outstanding Service to Community and the Excellence in Volunteering to Community Awards in honour of his countless contributions.
The greatest tribute that came to Alma and Dan for their dedication and volunteerism to Kenilworth Community was in a street that was named after them called Kessel Way. It is located on 71 street between 89 Avenue and 88 Avenue. That street led from their house to the Kenilworth Community League. Dan was very honoured and proud of this distinction.
Dan was also very dedicated to his faith and church community. When the family would come to visit him at the Rutherford care centre, they could hear him singing a rousing chorus of Hallelujah from down the hall and when they would open the door, they would see him singing brightly with a big smile on his face with his care workers.
Dan and Alma had 3 grandchildren, Sebastien, Katchen, and Nikita. He loved them with all his heart and always had secret Smarties hidden in his pockets – like catnip for kids – they would always know that Grandpa had a treat for them. Even though he had a knee replacement and should not crawl around the floor, the grandchildren enjoyed many horse rides on Grandpa’s back. Dan was always on the floor playing and laughing with his beloved grandchildren.
Jaime’s fondest memory was Dan’s dedication to his first grandchild, Sebastien. Ever since Sebastien was born in 2013 until the family moved to BC when he was 3, Dan would come by to help Jaime and spend special time with Sebastien. When Sebastien was too small to even crawl, this simply meant Dan rocking him in a baby seat, and soon grew to playing trains and cars and spending time outside. Even near the end when Alzheimer’s made Dan’s memory fail, he always remembered his grandchildren and their names whenever they visited and would perk up with excitement when he heard the voices of Katchie, Kita and Sebastien.
The family wishes to extend special thanks to Rutherford Heights Residence and Extendicare Holyrood for their excellent care and kindness to Dan Kessel. Thank you to all the friends and family for your visits, messages and support over the past few years, your kind expressions of sympathy and friendship gave us strength and will always remain in our memories. Thank you all for your thoughtfulness, prayers, and love today.
Dan Kessel lived a life filled with unbelievable riches – limitless kindness in his heart, endless love for his family and friends, a strong faith that brought him peace, and a smile and beer for everyone he would meet. His love is with us today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
In Loving Memory of
July 17, 1938 – June 20, 2022
Saturday, July 16th, 2022
At 10:00 a.m.
9034-95 Ave NW
Officiating: Father Philip Creurer
Private Family Inurnment
St Mary’s Cemetery
In lieu of flowers, donations gratefully accepted to:
Girl Guides of Canada
11055-107 Street NW
(Please choose Edmonton Area)
Kenilworth Community League
7104-87 Avenue NW
Serenity Funeral Service – South
780 450 0101