Dr. Kelvin Franklin Kesler died at the age of 88 on August 20, 2022, in the comfort of his home with his loving wife at his side. Kelvin was lovingly known as: Pappy, Ironman, Daddy, Kelly, Kel, and Unkie.
Kelvin was born in Friend, Nebraska July 28, 1934, but moved with his family at age 10 to Denver after his father passed away in an airplane crash on January 19, 1944. While growing up in Denver, he was always a confidant and the protector for his little sister Sue. In 1952, he graduated from South H.S. in Denver, CO. He then earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and entered medical school at the University of Colorado in 1955. It was there that he met his wife, JoAnn Switzer, whom he married in 1957. Following graduation from medical school in 1959, he went to enlist in the Air Force, but since the recruitment office was closed, he went across the street and joined the Navy, beginning 35 years of active and reserve service. Having served in Vietnam from 1962, Time Magazine highlighted him as the first married physician going to Vietnam. After retiring from active duty, the Kesler family moved to Ft. Collins in 1969 where they raised their three children: Thomas, Jeffrey and Kelley Jo. Kelly’s wife of 46 years, JoAnn died in 2003.
In 1970, Dr. Kesler and Dr. Jeffrey founded Ft. Collins Women’s Clinic, now known as the Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado. Dr. Kesler (Kelly), Dr. Jeffery and Dr. Ludwin (joined the practice after the original clinic was founded) worked long nights and days to create a one-of-a-kind practice to “Care for Women”. Dr. Kesler stopped counting when he had delivered or supervised upwards of 10,000 babies. In addition, Dr. Kesler spent his medical career affiliated with Poudre Valley Hospital, at one point serving as their Chief of Staff. He was known by his patients for his compassion and personal touch.
Throughout his adult life, he was active in many professional and community organizations enjoying an especially long history with the Fort Collins Rotary Club. In 2011, he was awarded The Quiet Rotarian Award, honoring a member who “displays exemplary leadership without outward fanfare.” He was a long-standing member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and played the euphonium in the Loveland Concert Band and percussion in the Health and Wellness Community Orchestra. An avid Harley-Davidson rider, Kelly was a member of “The Hell’s Anglers” a physician’s motorcycle and fly-fishing club. An annual event for Kelly was traveling to Sturgis for 18 years with his motorcycle buddy Michael.
Friends of Kelly and Armelle Brandt knew they would be the perfect pair. After finally gaining the courage to take the first step and call Armelle, he married Armelle Brandt on April 9, 2005, who was his love for 17 years until his death. Kelly always had a glimmer in his eyes every time he looked at Armelle.
The family would like to thank Armelle for the amazing kindness, tender care and wonderful companionship for the last 17 years. She is a blessing to us all!
In addition to his wife Armelle, he is survived by his sister Sue Ellen Sims of Little Rock, AR, his children and their spouses—Thomas and Ronda, Jeffrey and Linda, Kelley Jo, and Paul Brandt — plus six grandchildren: Ryan Kesler, Carrie Ann David, Benjamin Kesler, Abigail LeBlanc, Josiah Kesler, Samuel Kesler, Matthew Hendricks, and Ruthie Hendricks. He is also survived by four great grandchildren: Ethan, Matthew, and Emily Joy Kesler and Henry LeBlanc.
A celebration of his life will be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church at 7755 Greenstone Trail, Ft. Collins, CO 80525 at 2 p.m. on Friday, August 26. For those unable to attend, the service will be available on live stream at live.redeemerconnect.com
In lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions should be made to the Nelson Award Endowment Fund, # 0250213; checks payable to the University of Colorado Foundation; PO Box 17126, Denver, CO 80217-9155.