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George's Story

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George M. Kesselring was born in Guthrie County, IA, in 1923. He was the son of Charles and Olive Kesselring and brother of Wayne, Willard, and Joe. He graduated from Guthrie Center High School in 1941.
George enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in 1942 during World War II. He graduated from flight school and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. George was first assigned to be a Pilot Instructor at Goodfellow Air Field, San Angelo, TX. In 1943, he and his crew were sent to England to fly combat missions over Germany. With the 91st Bomber Group, 8th Air Force, he flew 35 missions as a decorated pilot of B-17 bombers. His tour of duty in Europe was finished on April 13, 1945. George completed his Air Force career in various fields of Personnel and retired as a Major on August 31, 1963.
On September 17, 1952, George married Corene Watson. They met in the county clerk's office where she worked in Sevier County, AR, while he was a recruiter for the U.S. Air Force. George was the father of three children Gary, Randy, and Brenda.
After military service, George graduated from college at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK. He taught sociology and psychology at Muskogee High School. In Oklahoma City, George was a case manager for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. George and Corene retired to Van Buren, AR. In 2010, George moved to Country Gardens in Muskogee to be near his daughter, Brenda.
He was active in the Van Buren Democratic party and was a leading contributor. Corene and George purchased backpacks for schoolchildren to be packed with food so they would not go hungry over weekends and holidays. They were also among Van Buren's leading contributors of take-home backpacks, spending countless hours searching for the best prices and nicest packs.
A loving father and grandfather, George was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 52 years, Corene. He was survived by his sons, Gary Kesselring and wife Diana of Des Moines, IA, and Randy Kesselring and wife Rhinda of Jonesboro, AR; and his daughter, Brenda Rumley and husband Russell of Muskogee, OK. George was also survived by grandchildren, John Harjo, George and Amanda Manning, Heather Kesselring, Kimberly Beltrame, Jill Alessio, Marci and Scott Armstrong, Nicole Kesselring, and 13 great-grandchildren.
Funeral service will be 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at Edwards Van-Alma Funeral Home Chapel with interment to follow at the Fort Smith National Cemetery with Military Honors, under the direction of Edwards Van-Alma Funeral Home of Van Buren, AR.
The family will visit with friends from 10:30 a.m. until the funeral hour, Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at the funeral home, 4100 Alma Highway, Van Buren, AR.
To place an online tribute, go to www.edwardsvan-alma.com.
Published on February 4, 2017
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