Rudolph A. "Rudy" Kessler, 88, Altoona, died early Thursday morning at Select Specialty Hospital, Johnstown.
He was born in Altoona, son of the late Justin and Paulina F. (Vorndran) Kessler. He married Frances Cecilia Canole on July 9, 1949, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Altoona.
Surviving are his wife; five children: Katherine F. Balestino and husband, Joseph, of Fallentimber, Ann C. Vellone and husband, Joseph, of Altoona, John R. Kessler and wife, Robin, of Altoona, Mary Beth Adams of Altoona and Regina P. Teresi and husband, Mark, of Fuquay-Varina, N.C.; 11 grandchildren: Betty Smith, Gretchen Jablonski and husband, John, Nichole Spanik and husband, Jason, Justina McCaulley, Andrea Leeper and husband, Brandon, Abby Vellone, Brad Kessler and wife, Brandy, Sarah Bougher and husband, Jeff, Alyssa Adams and Joseph and Victoria Teresi; a grandson's wife, Melissa Balestino; and 15 great-grandchildren: Scott Smith, Dru Balestino, Gracie and Anthony Jablonski, Emma and Wade Spanik, Evan and Noah McCaulley, Tyler, Marissa, Adrianna and Nathan Kessler, Brianna and Harley Bougher and Andrew Leeper.
He is also survived by four siblings: Herman J. Kessler, Theresa M. Bettwy, Pauline F. Steinbugl and Mary Agnes Kessler, all of Altoona.
He was preceded in death by a grandson, Eric Balestino; and a granddaughter's husband, Brian McCaulley.
Rudy was a 1942 graduate of Altoona Catholic High School. He was a U.S. Army veteran of WWII, attaining the rank of staff sergeant, and he retired in 1979 as a machinist from Conrail. He was an insurance representative for the Greater Beneficial Union District 45 for more than 35 years, where he won numerous awards for sales and fraternalism.
He was a beneficial and life member of the Bavarian Aid Society, Swiss Rifle Club and St. Stanislaus Kostka Brotherhood and a member of Unter Uns, Juniata VFW, A&J Iaia American Legion Post, Blair County Genealogical Society and Federation of Fraternal Clubs Unit 1.
Rudy enjoyed hosting summer picnics for family and friends at his home and gardening. He enjoyed tinkering in his workshop and was a handyman, doing repairs for anyone in need of his help.
Friends will be received from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 10, 2013, at Myers-Somers Funeral Home Inc., 501 Sixth Ave., Altoona, where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, March 11, 2013, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Altoona. Committal rites will be held at Calvary Cemetery with full military honors to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent DePaul Food for Families Soup Kitchen, 2201 Union Ave., Altoona, PA 16601.