Melvern Kessler

Melvern Kessler, 88, of Murdo died on Monday, November 7 at Faulkton Senior Living in Faulkton. A memorial service will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, at Isburg Funeral Chapel in Pierre followed by at gathering starting at 5:00 p.m. in Murdo at the Tap House 22. For those unable to attend the services they will be live streamed on his obituary page at
Melvern Dale Kessler was Born September 1, 1934 to William George Wayne and Rena (Sterner) Kessler. His father passed away when he was 14 years old. Helping him grow into the person he was, along with his mother were many amazing Sterner and Kessler relatives.
Mel grew up fast, driving machinery at an early age, hence his passion for trucking, hauling everything from gravel to grain, liquid fertilizer, cattle, horses and buffalo! Mel and family spent five years in California and a year in Chicago where he was the driver supervisor, training and managing truck drivers in a very large international company, PIE (Pacific Intermountain Express). Returning back to South Dakota as the fast-paced lifestyle of the cities was not the place to raise his family. Moving back home to Murdo was a great move, it was then he started his own business, Kessler Trucking. The business grew from one truck in 1967 to a fleet of them through the ‘80’s. Mel’s son Ernie joined the business in 1984. It was shortly after that, the two of them together decided to downsize and hauled mostly petroleum. Mel was instrumental in getting twin 40-foot trailers approved to haul across interstate 90 and they continued to haul hazardous materials until his retirement in 2009.
Mel was involved in and on the board of MINI Wiconi water development, now known as West River Lyman Jones Rural Water Systems. He was a member of South Dakota Wheat Growers Association and on the board of South Dakota Trucking Association/Petroleum Carriers. He was also very proud to be a Lions member.
Mel and his wife Linda purchased their first motorhome in the 70’s. When the business slowed in the winter they would travel. They were fabulous traveling partners. Mel would drive anywhere Linda picked for them to go. They traveled all around the U.S., visiting friends and relatives. In 2000 they decided to settle at one of their favorite places; Apache Junction, Arizona. They returned there every year when the temps started dropping in Sout Dakota, returning in the spring.
Mel’s favorite past-times included: traveling, fishing, hunting, gun collecting and most favorite of all was visiting with people. Mel never met a stranger; he always found a connection to everyone he visited with. Melvern will be greatly missed!
Mel was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Linda Lee, his parents, in-laws, Ernest & Florence Enright, Sisters-in-law Roberta Sly & Phyllis Enright, brothers-in-law, Dennis Enright, LM Scherffius & Gordon Sly.
Survivors include daughters Koleene (David) Newbold, Westover, S.D., Melinda (Brad) Rathbun, Fort Pierre S.D., Son Ernest Kessler, Fort Pierre S.D. Grandchildren: Tami (Brian) Flynn, Matthew (Taylor) Newbold, Daniel (Brad) Newbold, Kaycee Miller (Dustin), Lindee Miller (Alex), Mariah Kessler & Will Kessler, Carisa (Aaron) Marshall, Curt (Cynthia) Rathbun. Great grandchildren: Emily (John) Daly, Trey Flynn (Lillian), Ravin Ayers (Katelynn), Lillian Bartlett, Myla Keefe, Abram Keefe, Opie Keefe, Braylon Marshall, Sadie Marshall, Bria Marshall, Kean Rathbun, Mylo Rathbun. Sister-in-law Patricia Scherffius, special friend and companion, Ramona Dykema, many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.


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