Long-serving Tipp fire chief dies

TIPP CITY — Tipp City Fire Chief Steve Kessler, who spent 50 years with the department, died Saturday, June 9.

He was honored by the department for his years of service to the community in March, along with several other longtime members of the volunteer fire department. He had the most years of service of those honored.

Kessler was a native of Tipp City and a graduate of Tippecanoe High School. He graduated from Otterbein College and served in the U.S. Navy before returning home.

He was in his 50th year as a member of the Tipp City Fire Department and served as chief for 20 years.

A post to the Tipp City Police Department’s Facebook page described Kessler as a “city icon and hero.” The city offered condolences online as well.

Police Chief Eric Burris remembered Kessler as a “genuinely good person.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better partner on a scene, whether it’s an accident or any kind of emergency. He was fantastic,” Burris said. “He would do just about anything you asked of him.”

Burris, who has worked for the city for more than 20 years, said that Kessler had a huge influence on the culture of the department over the years.

“They’re a great partner and I think that’s because of his leadership,” he said.

Kessler was retired from Tip Top Canning, where he had worked for 38 years. He was also a member of the American Legion and VFW in Tipp City, the Montgomery County Chief’s Association and the Miami County Chief’s Association.

A service is planned for 4-7 p.m. on Friday, June 22, at the Monroe Township Building at 4 E. Main St., Tipp City. Arrangements have been entrusted to Frings and Bayliff Funeral Home.