Paul W. Kiessling, age 99, of Ceresco, died on Sunday morning, October 15, 2023 in the loving care of his family and caregivers at the Colonial House West in Marshall Township.
Paul was born on May 3, 1924, at home in Hillsdale to Erwin W. and Audre R. (Martin) Kiessling. When he was 2 years old his family moved him to Marshall Township on C Drive North where his family farmed. Paul helped his parents with the farm growing up and attended country school at the old Conley School in Marshall Township. Paul entered Marshall High School and graduated as a member of the Marshall High School Redskin Class of 1942.
Paul was married to Donna L. Hamilton on December 12, 1943. It was the start of a fruitful and loving partnership that lasted until Donna’s death on October 28, 2009.
Paul went to work doing sales and service work for the R.M. Lutz and Sons John Deere dealership on Marshall Street in Ceresco. Donna and Paul lived just a short walk down the street on Marshall Street. Paul spent the rest of his life in that home where he and Donna raised their family. The Dadow family purchased Lutz and Sons and Paul continued working for them for many years selling and servicing milking equipment for farmers in southern Michigan. Paul retired from Dadow Power Equipment in 1986 after he turned 62.
At that same time Paul became a beloved and trusted associate at Craig K. Kempf Funeral Home (Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services) in Marshall. He served his community at the funeral home until he was 96 years old! Paul was a familiar and comforting figure at almost all the funerals conducted at Kempf’s during those years. Craig and all his colleagues called Paul “The General” because of his amazing leadership and work ethic. Even in his mid-90’s he was a challenge to physically keep up with while setting up or cleaning up!
Paul was a committed community servant all his life. In 1952 he was part of a group of men that formed what is now the Marshall Township Fire Department. Paul served as the Assistant Fire Chief during the administration of E. Reed Vincent. He was appointed as Marshall Township Fire Chief in 1981. Paul retired as Chief when he turned 65 in 1989. Paul was a Life Member of the State Fire Chief’s Association and the Western Michigan Fire Chief’s Association. He was a member of the former Calhoun County Firefighters Association.
He was a lifelong member of Zion Lutheran Church in Marshall where he served 3 terms as Congregational President and numerous terms on the Board of Elders, as well pitching in to work at any church project needing hands on help.
Paul enjoyed his cabin up north, especially deer season when he and his sons and grandsons and son-in-law joined him for many years. Fishing was another enjoyable hobby when he had time to do it! Paul served as a Calhoun County 4-H Leader for many years.
In addition to the fire department, Paul served Marshall Township for many years as Chairman of the Fire Board, Board of Review and most recently as Assistant to the Township Supervisor until he became ill. Paul’s mind remained sharp all his life and his valuable counsel to many was always sought out and respected.
Paul liked to travel with Donna. They took a trip by car after they both retired in 1986 to tour the western states. Paul and Donna hosted a group of German Firefighters and their families here in 1988. They were invited to come to Germany by that group and in summer of 1989 they traveled to Germany, a trip that was a highlight for them!
Paul is survived by his beloved family, his daughter and son-in-law Jeannette and David Glen, sons and daughters-in-law David and Carol Kiessling and Robert and Marjorie Kiessling; 7 grandchildren, Tad (Jaime) Kiessling, Troy (Kathy) Kiessling, Dan (Kimberly) Glen, Kelly Blaskie, Tamara (Matthew) Kiessling Strole, Jennifer Kiessling and Tina Green; 12 great-grandchildren. Ty Blaskie, Kodie (TJ) Kiessling Davis, Kevin Green, Ryan Green, Lindzy Glen, Jessica (Luke) Harris, Luke Glen, Kaitlyn (Noah) Kiessling Defouw, Kara Kiessling, Krista (Brad) Kiessling Gillett, Benjamin Crocker, and Eryn (Austyn) Kiessling Dunn; and 8 great-great-grandchildren.
Friends may call at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US HWY 27 N, Marshall on Tuesday, October 17, from 4PM – 7PM.
Funeral services celebrating Paul’s life and his Lord and Savior will be held on Wednesday, October 18, at 2PM at Zion Lutheran Church, 135 W. Green Street, Marshall with Rev. Anthony Voltattorni officiating.
Fire Department Honors will be conducted by Marshall Township Fire Department.
Interment next to Donna will follow in Ceresco Cemetery. A luncheon will follow back at Zion Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall.
Friends who wish to make a memorial contribution in Paul’s memory are asked to donate to Zion Lutheran Church, 135 W. Green Street, Marshall, MI 49068 or Marshall Township Fire Department, 13551 Myron Avery Drive, Marshall, MI 49068 or Battle Creek Area Habitat For Humanity, 595 North Avenue, Battle Creek, MI 49017 https://www.habitatbc.org/
Arrangements were entrusted to Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US HWY 27 N, Marshall, MI 49068. To leave a message for the family please visit www.kempffuneralhome.com.