Cover photo for Robert Kiessling's Obituary
Robert Kiessling Profile Photo
1948 Robert 2024

Robert Kiessling

November 1, 1948 — April 19, 2024


Robert E. Kiessling, 75, retired Marshall Fire Department Chief, died on Friday April 19, 2024, at his home in the loving care of his wife Marjorie and children.

Bob was born November 1, 1948, at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall to Paul W. and Donna L. (Hamilton) Kiessling. The family resided with Paul’s parents in an upstairs apartment at the farmhouse on the farm the family worked on C Drive North until 1952. That year the family purchased a home on Marshall Street in Ceresco and Bob spent his growing years there. He graduated from Harper Creek High School in 1966.

Bob was married to Marjorie L. Yaudes on November 5, 1966, at Zion Lutheran Church in Marshall where both their families had belonged for many years and where their relationship started.

They lived in the Marshall, Ceresco, and Emmett Township areas until moving to the home Bob’s Grandfather and Grandmother Kiessling built on C Drive North near 13 Mile Road. They lived there for many years until moving to Marengo Township where they lived until moving to the Sturgis area to be near family a short time ago.

Bob began his career with the Marshall Fire Department in the spring of 1985 when he was hired as a full time Firefighter/Lieutenant after completing written, oral and physical examinations. He was promoted to Assistant Chief, and then Chief where he served until his retirement in 2013. He also served his community as a part paid firefighter over the years at the Emmett Township and Marshall Township Fire Departments.  

He continually improved his fire service education throughout his career by completing courses with Michigan Firefighter Training Council, inter-department training, and Kellogg Community College. He was a Certified Instructor for the Michigan Firefighters Training Council and taught within his own department as well as for the Calhoun County Fire Academy. He has specialized training in Confined Space Rescue and was in charge of the Marshall Fire Department’s Confined Space Rescue Team for many years.

Bob had a special interest in Emergency Medical Services. Bob achieved his Basic EMT training and Michigan License and began working part time for the former Life Ambulance in the late 1970’s. After 1980 Bob volunteered his time for Marshall Firefighter’s Ambulance Service as a Basic EMT. When Michigan law governing EMS licensure, he completed a course to become an EMT Specialist. Then he attended Kellogg Community College where he graduated from their Paramedic program. Bob faithfully attended Continuing Education courses provided by the State of Michigan required to maintain licensure.

Prior to the fire service, Bob worked in the grocery industry at National Foods and Big D in Marshall and McComb’s Cut Rate in Battle Creek. The majority of his time was as a Journeyman Butcher. Bob always worked 2 or 3 jobs to support his family. He also worked on farms and at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services for over 30 years with his father.   

He was confirmed into the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod at Zion Lutheran Church and was a member of the church. While teenagers Bob and Margie were active in the church’s Youth Program.

He was a member of the Western Michigan Fire Chief’s Association, Michigan Chief’s Association, Marshall Firefighters Association and the Marshall Rotary Club. He volunteered for many years at the Great Lakes Burn Camp where he helped children that had suffered from burns heal both mentally and physically.

Bob camped for most of his life with Margie. They continually “changed up” their camping accommodations. Weather did not affect his desire to camp always saying “Anyone can camp in good weather; a real camper can camp in any weather!”. They often enjoyed camping trips with their extended family! He joined his father, brother and son for many years on the yearly deer hunting trip to Paul and Donna’s cabin in northern Michigan where he always pitched in with the family when his father announced a work event! He loved Florida and enjoyed winters there after retirement.   

Bob is survived by his beloved Marjorie L. “Margie”; their children Troy (Kathy) Kiessling, Tamara (Matthew) Kiessling Strole and Jennifer (Allen) Kiessling Harding, their grandchildren Kaitlyn (Noah) Kiessling Defouw, Dr. Karalyn (Michael Linn) Kiessling , Benjamin Crocker, and Eryn (Austyn) Kiessling Dunn, and 2 great grandsons Jack and Riley Defouw, with one on the way!; his brother David (Carol) Kiessling, and sister Jeannette (David) Glen; nieces and nephews.  

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Friends may call at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US HWY 27 N., Marshall on Thursday from 4PM-7PM where Bob’s family will be present to share memories and stories of Bob. Funeral services celebrating his life will be held at the funeral home on Friday, April 26, at 11AM with family friend Rev. Richard Schlee officiating.

Fire Department Honors will be conducted by Marshall Fire Department with the Bell Ceremony at the funeral home and The Final Call at the cemetery.

Committal at Oakridge Cemetery will follow services.

The family suggests memorial contributions to a cause that Bob held close to his heart, Great Lakes Burn Camp, P.O. Box 6189, Jackson, MI 49204. Envelopes are available at the funeral home or go to

Arrangements were entrusted to Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Kiessling, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 25, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, April 26, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, April 26, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)


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