Kessie had been fighting cancer for the past four years. We all knew it; she didn’t hide it. Instead, we saw her fight the dread disease with courageous determination and maybe an equal dose of calm acceptance. When invasive treatments robbed her of her hair, she often wore a scarf to cover her baldness. But we knew and she knew we knew. Perhaps that is why, during the 2017 Corn Hill Festival of the Arts, Kessie sat down with a henna artist and asked her to decorate the hairless pate. As the woman worked, Kessie, an artist herself, sat quietly with a slightly bemused smile while hugging one of her two little dogs.
Photos courtesy Joyce Wagner.
She threw herself into life. She embraced the world through travel. She engaged nature with scuba diving, kayaking rivers or hiking at Yellowstone National Park. Is it any wonder that we were shocked to learn that, despite such boundless strength and energy, despite the loving support of so many friends and neighbors, Cynthia Kessler died in hospice on February 3, 2021 at the age of 51. A private service was held on February 12th.