Mr. James L. Kesseler
Class of 1959
Career Pathway: Business, Management, Marketing & Technology
James L. Kesseler was nominated by Roger Kesseler.
Jim attended Grayling schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. He was a four-year member of the GHS football and basketball teams and served as Student Council co-president his senior year. He also worked for four years as an attendant at Knibbs Gas Station and at Camp Grayling.
He graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in business administration and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Artillery. He then served two years of active duty at Fort Meade in Maryland and eight years in the Army Reserves as a first lieutenant.
Following his certification as a public accountant (CPA), he started an accounting career as a staff accountant for Yeo & Yeo CPA in Saginaw (1965-1971). He was a CPA and controller for Rodare Builders (1971-1977); he then was the owner/broker of Mill-town Realty (1977-1982), a securities broker and real estate developer (1982-1985) and principal/treasurer for Saginaw Bay Underwriters (1985-2012).
Mr. Kesseler was a board member for the Saginaw Association of Retarded Citizens for 15 years and president of the organization for five years. He also served on the board of directors of the Saginaw Board of Realtors for 35 years, including president for one year and secretary/treasurer for five years, and he was an officer and board member of the Saginaw County Residential Non-Profit Housing Corporation from 1982 to 1987. From 1982 to 1987, he developed and found investors and operators for 14 four-bedroom homes for special needs citizens.
In 1998, he co-founded the Jerome and Loretta Kesseler Endowed Scholarships in memory of his parents and has been a presenter of this scholarship at GHS Senior Honors Nights for more than 15 years. Since 2016, he has served as co-chair of the fundraising committee for the Crawford AuSable Excellence in Education Foundation (CAEEF), which has set a goal of raising $1,250,000 for scholarships and grants.
He and his wife Rosalie, a nurse, have four children and seven grandchildren -- nearly all of whom have graduated from or are presently attending college. Their oldest daughter, Cindy, has special needs and lives with her parents in Saginaw.