Rev. J. Keith Kissel, a retired United Methodist minister, passed away on March 11, 2023 at the age of 87 in Davenport, FL. Born on February 15, 1936, in Jersey Shore, PA, he lived his life according to his unwavering faith.
Keith is survived by his cherished wife Jane S. Kissel, his nine children; Brian (Lizzie) Kissel, Bonnie (Ted) Gerrish, Belinda (George) Richardson, Diana Kissel, Minnie (Mickey) Baus, Barbara Peterson, Yvonne Volcy, Kimberly (Brian) Megquier, and Marjory (Jason) Gullstrand. He also leaves behind his brother Jack Kissel, and a brother-in-law Robert (Dorothy) Sylvester, 17 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Keith was preceded in death by his parents Harriet “Elizabeth” and John R. Kissel, his sister Joan, and brother-in-law Richard Smith.
Starting at the age of 7, Keith knew he had a calling to the ministry. After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan, he tried to avoid it by joining the military. Keith was very proud to serve his country as a corpsman with the US Navy, while bilaterally also serving with the Army and Marine Corps. Stationed for a time in Okinawa between the time of the Korean and Viet Nam conflicts, Keith's contributions went beyond simple service to his fellow men. Once honorably discharged, he left to attend graduate school and continue raising his beloved family. Once he graduated with his Masters in Divinity, he started his career with the United Methodist Church. Thus began more than a 50-year career in caring for others, spreading joy, love and light to those around him. Keith specialized in rebuilding churches. His personable touch, his genuine welcome, and warm smile invited all to join him at Christ's table. He especially enjoyed having the children in church. Whether it was for baptisms, confirmations, or just story time at the altar, children held a very special place in his heart.
A lifelong reader, Keith's favorite authors were Clive Cussler, James Patterson and Tom
Clancy. He admired Thomas Kincaid's artwork and appreciated fine works of art/sculpture. His favorite artist was God. Unabashedly delighting at fresh cut flowers, Keith marveled at how beautiful each bloom presented itself. He was an avid gardener, but a terrible weeder. He enjoyed his boat and the occasional fishing expedition.
The love he gave throughout his life will never be forgotten. Many have sat with him, talked with him, and he touched too many lives to count in his amazing journey on this earth. May Keith rest in peace forevermore with a smile on his face knowing how much he was loved and admired.
The Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, July 15, 2023 at the Montour Falls United Methodist Church located at 124 Owego Street with Rev. Michael Kelly presiding. Service will start at 11:00 am with a luncheon following.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Montour Falls United Methodist Church. Memories or condolences may be left on Keith's obituary page at www.RoyceChedzoy.com. Local arrangements with Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, Watkins Glen, has been made available for those unable to attend the service in person.