Maurine E. Kessler, (B.A., M.A., PhD), 85 years of age, of West Hartford died Monday, July 25, 2011. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1925, she was the daughter of the late Eli and Dorothy (Letween) Evnen. She is the beloved wife of Stanley M. Kessler (Rabbi Emeritus of Beth El Temple of West Hartford.) In June 2011 they celebrated their 64th anniversary. Besides her husband, Maurine is survived by her children, Abigail K. Hanna, MD, and Jonathan J. Kessler, and granddaughter of Georgine Hoge. Aside from these, she is mourned by a brother and sister-in-law, Everett and Elaine Evnen of Lincoln Nebraska and their children, and grandchildren, and her brother-in-law and his wife Arnold and Naomi Kessler of Philadelphia, PA, and their children and grandchildren. All of these Maurine loved.
In 1947 she received an undergraduate degree from Nebraska University in the field of Audiology. Soon after arriving in West Hartford in 1954, Maurine worked with the Hartford Hearing League. She then worked with the Newington Children’s Hospital for many years until she entered the University of Connecticut for graduate studies. She earned a Masters degree in 1972 and a PhD in 1978 from University of Connecticut. From 1978 until becoming Emeritus in 1990, Professor Kessler was on the faculty of Southern Connecticut State University in the Department of Communication Disorders. She was a devoted teacher, deeply respected by colleagues, loved by her students and by parents and children with hearing impairments many of whom consulted with her for years even after her retirement from Southern Connecticut University. Twice she was nominated by her students for the “Distinguished Teaching Award.” Aside from her research being published in professional journals, she is frequently cited in texts dealing with hearing rehabilitation. While in Israel with her husband during the academic year 1949 – 1950, Maurine was approached by Hadassah Hospital to meet with a Select group of nurses weekly to share with them her knowledge of audiological services as was taught to her in the United States. (Such services were then, but limited known or practiced in Israel.) Her volunteer lecturing over many months made a significant impact on the medical staff of Hadassah Jerusalem, and influenced their initiating a Department of Audiology at Hadassah Hospital. During the ensuing years, each time she visited Israel she was feted by the Hadassah Jerusalem staff, one of whom had been among the nurses Maurine had taught in 1949, and had gone on to obtain a doctorate in the field of Audiology. In 1987, the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) awarded her recognition as the “Connecticut State Awardee for Outstanding Clinical Achievement in Human Communication, Sciences, and Disorders.” In 1988, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf honored her for her work on behalf of Children’s Rights Advocacy in the State of Connecticut. Upon retirement, Maurine was able to accompany her husband to Jerusalem for Sabbatical time, and then after his retirement every year for extended periods of time. In 1991, she became a primary resource to dedicated parents of hearing impaired children who were forming an organization called AV Israel (Auditory Verbal Israel). For ensuing years, each time she returned to Jerusalem, she gave courses to professionals in auditory – verbal methodology, especially with the development of cochlear implants. Numbers of these professionals became staff members of the AV Israel clinics in Jerusalem and Ra’anana. Likewise she was invited to serve on the faculty of University of Tel Aviv at Tel HaShomer in the field of Communication Disorders. In 2001, Maurine was honored by AV Israel organization naming its facility in Jerusalem the “Dr. Maurine Kessler Auditory Verbal Education Center.” At the celebration of AV Israel’s 13th year, in June 2007, attended by hundreds of people in Jerusalem, Maurine was honored as the “Godmother” of the organization’s coming into being. The Kesslers express deep gratitude to Maurine’s wonderful care givers principally Ms. Ivorine Grant, and Ms. Sharon Campbell. Beloved by anyone and everyone who knew her, she has left a legacy of deep caring for the afflicted as well as being a loving wife and mother, a loyal friend and as beautiful a person as ever one would want to know.
Funeral services will be held TODAY, Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM in the Sanctuary of Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave., West Hartford. Interment will follow in Beth El Temple Cemetery, Jackson Street Ext., Avon. Following the interment, a calling hour will take place in Kessler Hall at Beth El Temple until 5:30 pm with evening services at 7:30 pm, and additional calling hour following Minyan until 9:00 pm also in Kessler Hall. Shiva Services will be held Thursday through Tuesday at the Kessler home, 22 Hamlin Drive, West Hartford: Thursday 7:00 am and 7:30 pm; Friday 7:00 am (only); Sunday 9:00 am and 7:30 pm; Monday 7:00 am and 7:30 pm; and Tuesday 7:00 am. Contributions honoring her memory may be made to AV Israel-Jerusalem and sent c/o the Kesslers, 22 Hamlin Drive, West Hartford 06117 for forwarding to Israel, or to the Alzheimer’s Association, 2075 Silas Deane Highway, Suite 100, Rocky Hill 06067. Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford. For further information, directions, or to sign the guest book for Dr. Kessler, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com.