THOMSON—Barbara E. Kessler, 84, of Thomson, passed away Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, at Select Specialty Hospital in Davenport, Iowa.

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Law-Jones Funeral Home, Thomson. Burial will take place in Lower York Cemetery, Thomson. Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Barbara was born Feb. 16, 1935, in Mountain, Wis., the daughter of Harry and Eleanor (Hatfield) Forry. She attended Savanna High School, graduating with the Class of 1953.

On Aug. 7, 1954, Barbara married Merle Atherton. Barbara later remarried Gene Kessler on April 5, 1986. Gene passed away on Dec. 28, 1998.

Barbara and Gene operated Gene's Oasis Tavern in Savanna for many years. She also held several jobs throughout her life, including a telephone operator, a hairdresser working out of her home in Thomson, the Thomson schools, working as a bookkeeper for Quality Ready Mix in Savanna and a short time in Garden City, Kansas. She also worked as a cashier at The Station Convenience Store and at McGinnis Market for several summers.

When Barbara wasn't working, she enjoyed bowling, reading, hosting family dinners regularly, taking road trips with her sister, watching her grandkids play sports, playing the slots and watching Westerns and rooting for the Green Bay Packers.

Barbara will be dearly missed by her two sons, Stephen (Becky) Atherton and Randy (Brenda) Atherton, both of Thomson; her daughter, Cynthia Atherton McGinnis of Fulton; 10 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and her sister, Beverly Atherton of Thomson.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gene, and both parents.