William “Bill” H. Sesler, age 88, of Manhattan, passed away peacefully on Good Friday at Meadowlark’s Wroten House where he had resided since 2018. He is survived by his bride of 62 years, Donna Raye (née Bergsten) of Meadowlark’s Miller House. While the pandemic’s restrictions had physically separated them for 11 months, they were joyfully reunited on Valentine’s Day, their 62nd anniversary, earlier this year. Only the pandemic had prevented Donna from faithfully visiting her husband daily during his time at Wroten.
Bill was born and raised in Wamego during the Great Depression; shaped by that era and its values. He was a dutiful provider for his family, a careful planner, a worrier, but also fiercely independent in not wanting to rely on others for his care.
From early childhood Bill worked any number of small town jobs from cleaning the theatre to mowing lawns. He and his identical twin, Ben, put themselves through college at K-State courtesy the ROTC program. Bill received his Army commission on the day of his graduation and then served active duty for two years including a year in post-war Germany followed by 25 years in the reserves attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Following his active service, Bill found employment with Nabisco in Portland, but returned to Wamego shortly thereafter due to a family illness that required his assistance. As a dutiful son and the closest sibling, he continued in this role for his parents which allowed his children to visit their grandparents on Sundays where a lively game of Gin Rummy was common.
Bill found employment at Kansas State University in the Purchasing Department at Anderson Hall where he remained for 47 years retiring as the Director of Purchasing. While devoting long hours, he really enjoyed working and the collegiality of his colleagues.
Energetic was an appropriate adjective for Bill who was known as a quick talker and fast walker. Tending the lawn deep into retirement burned off some of his bountiful energy.
However, he wasn’t all work as the family enjoyed many memorable West Coast road trips, and the amenities of K-State including productions at McCain Auditorium, and athletics as season ticket holders to K-State football during its lean years and basketball during its rocking heyday at Ahearn. He enjoyed a hearty laugh and did not miss Johnny Carson’s nightly monologue. Being able to stay up “late” with Dad to watch the monologue was a treat for his boys. In retirement, Bill and Donna enjoyed travel and touring nearby Kansas towns, lunching at locally owned restaurants. Until moving to Wroten, Bill faithfully decorated eggs for more than 60 years, each and every Easter.
Bill was the last surviving member of his family preceded in death by his parents, Guy and Ella, his older sister Betsy Nowels, and his older brother Bob Sesler and twin Ben Sesler. Besides his wife Donna, he is also survived by his boys, Tim (Myrla) and Chris, six grandchildren (Vanessa, Tatiana, Mikaela, William, Sabrina and Alicia) and 5 great-grandchildren (Bailey, Colette, Jackson, Dillon and Kian), and many nieces and nephews.
Services and interment will be held in early August in Wamego, Kansas.
For those who desire, in lieu of flowers a contribution can be made to the Meadowlark Foundation, a wonderful facility that cared for him during his last years, or the VFW.
Online condolences may be left at campanellastewart.com