GESSLER, James Joseph, 75, of Fort Henry Avenue, Wheeling, died Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2001, in the Wheeling Hospital.
He was born Sept. 20, 1926 in Wheeling, the son of the late Henry F. and Julia Lally Gessler.
He attended Cathedral Grade School; graduated from Wheeling Central Catholic High School; attended Toledo University and received his bachelor of science degree from Tokyo University.
He was a member of St. Michael Catholic Church, Wheeling; a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict; a member of the U.S. Army Honorary Reserve Corp. and was awarded the General Bradford Medal as the Top Service Athlete in Japan.
He was the former manager of Fredrick’s Sporting Goods Company; District Manager for Reserve Life Insurance; and was a special agent with the State of West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Commission.
He was honored by Governor Moore as winner of Distinguished West Virginian Award; received the ABCC-Employee of the year award; Secretary of State-Community Service Award; Jaycees-Citizen of the Year Award; Radio-Community Service Award; St. Vincent de Paul Society as Volunteer of the Year; Prudential Insurance Company as Volunteer of the Year and the Cathedral Grade School with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
He was a graduate of the State Police Academy in 1977; a member of the F.O.P.A; former member of the Board for the Blind; played professional basketball for the Wheeling Blues; was an originator of the Wheeling Outdoor Basketball League where he coached and played for over 12 years; a member of the Warwood Vets, V.F.W. Post No. 4442; the American Legion Post No. 1; Elm Grove Civics; Elm Grove Eagles; Senior Services and National Federation of Police.
He was also the former President of St. Vincent de Paul Society; former director of the St. Vincent de Paul Store; former member of the Board of Directors at Catholic Community Services; former National Trustee of St. Vincent de Paul Society; served the blind in the area for over 30 years organizing camp acitvities for the blind and originating yearly trips to Pirate baseball games and was a member and past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carroll Council No. 504, Wheeling.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred Welling Gessler; three brothers, John, Harry and Charles Gessler; a sister, Mary K. McDermott; and a grandson, Scott A. Charlton.
Surviving are six sons, James H. and his wife, Beth of Bridgeport, Ohio, Robert E. and his wife, Debbie of Wheeling; Thomas L. and his wife, Kathy of Wheeling, David A. and his wife, Brenda of Wheeling, Brian J. and his wife, Ginny of Wheeling and Kevin M. and his wife, Mari of Wheeling; a daughter, Brenda Gessler Murphy and her hushand, Bernie of Wheeling; a special friend, Georgia Doerr of Wheeling; 14 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; several nephews and nieces.
Friends will be received on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2001, 6-9 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 16, 2001, from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. at Altmeyer Funeral Home, 1400 Eoff St., Wheeling. Funeral liturgy with Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Michael Catholic Church, Wheeling. Interment in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Wheeling.