ARLINGTON - Byron Joseph Kessenich, age 88, passed away at his home after a short illness on May 10, 2022, with family by his side. He was born, the second of four children, to parents Herman and Rose (Watzke) Kessenich on February 12, 1934, on the family farm on Easy Street in Westport Township, WI. Byron was baptized at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Waunakee. He attended Ella Wheller Wilcox grade school before his parents bought a farm, moving the family to DeForest where he graduated from high school in 1952. On July 23, 1959 Byron was united in marriage with Janet Esther Mabis at Sacred Hearts Church in Sun Prairie.
Byron was a lifelong farmer, farming at one time or another with his father, his two brothers, his son, his nephews, and later with his two grandsons. In 1967, Byron and Janet purchased their own farm in Leeds where they spent the rest of their days together, until Janet’s death in 2005. Byron stayed active on the farm passed his 87th birthday. He was a big fan of all of his grandchildren and attended many of their basketball, volleyball, and football games as well as wrestling matches. On several occasions, while fighting back a tear, Byron said he wished Janet could have heard their granddaughter Ashley sing.
He was a dedicated Green Bay Packers fan and never missed a game. He attended many games with his niece Debbie and her husband Ed Laymon. Byron was even known to bring his 12 inch black and white tv into the kitchen at St. Olaf while he and Janet made potatoes for the Fall Festival. Byron and Janet enjoyed playing euchre with their card club for many years.
Byron is survived by a special friend, Eleanor Moran; two children, Dan (Pam) Kessenich of Arlington, and Carol (Steve) Otteson of Arlington; sister, Faye (Tom) Farr of Greybull, WY; sisters-in-law, Nancy Kessenich of DeForest, Nancy (Bob) Schmitz of Berlin, Shirley Mabis; brothers-in-law, Howard (Martha) Mabis of Baldwin, Earl (Janette) Mabis of Sun Prairie, Jim (Julie) Mabis of Middleton; grandchildren, Brandon (Bethany) Kessenich, Dylan (Tiffany) Kessenich, all of Arlington, Jami (Tim) Abbe, Alyssa (Beau) Gaston, all of DeForest, and Ashley Otteson of Arlington; great-grandchildren, Ryli, Jaxon, Aubrey, McCoy, Andi, Justin, Maverick and Josephine. He is further survived by special nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Janet; his parents Herman and Rose Kessenich; brothers, Tom (Donna) and Richard; brothers-in-law, Donald (Viola) Mabis and Eugene Mabis; and a grandson, Justin Kessenich.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Agrace Hospice and SSM Health for their compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Agrace Hospice.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 14, 2022 at ST. OLAF CATHOLIC CHURCH, 623 Jefferson St., DeForest, WI, with Fr. Jared Holzhuter presiding. Visitation will take place at the church Friday, May 13 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and one hour prior to the Mass on Saturday from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Interment will follow at St. Olaf Catholic Cemetery. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
6924 Lake Road
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