Hunting 07

Timothy "Tim" Kessler

September 22, 1957 ~ October 10, 2023 (age 66) 66 Years Old

Timothy "Tim" Kessler Obituary

Per an error in the obituary print:

There will not be visitation one hour prior to the service.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to one of the following charities:

The NSU Foundation
620 15th Ave. SE Aberdeen, SD 57108

The South Dakota Community Foundation
(Donations can be designated to the Tim and Amy Kessler Family Fund, directed by the South Dakota Community Foundation)
P.O. Box 296 Pierre, SD 57108

Aldersgate Church
502 South Lincoln St. Aberdeen, SD 57401

The Roncalli Foundation
1400 North Dakota St. Aberdeen, SD 57401

Timothy “Tim” John Kessler, 66, of Aberdeen, SD, passed away Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital. His enthusiasm for life, passion for the outdoors, and dedicated leadership in multiple arenas have left a lasting impact.

A Memorial Service for Tim will be at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, October 16, 2023, at the Johnson Fine Arts Center, 12th Ave SE, Aberdeen, with Pastor Derek Baum officiating. A time of fellowship and coffee hour will follow at the Kessler’s Champions Club in the Barnett Center.

A Celebration of Life and burial will be held at a later date in the Summer of 2024.

Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5th Avenue NW, Aberdeen, is in charge of arrangements.  Family and friends may sign the online guestbook at

Tim’s service will be live-streamed on Schriver’s Memorial’s Facebook page at

Timothy John Kessler was born on September 22, 1957, in Aberdeen, SD, to Robert and Kay (Foran) Kessler.

A true son of South Dakota, Tim embraced the great outdoors, with hunting being his most treasured pastime. He was happiest with family and friends walking a field, crouching next to a slough, or sitting in a deer stand. His passion for wildlife and habitat conservation led him to the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, where he served 17 years as commissioner. He exceeded the lifetime two-term limit, having been appointed by three governors spanning from 1992 to 2010 – a testament to his strength as a leader.

At the heart of Tim’s leadership was the gift of consensus-building. He believed in the power of trust, transparency, and fostering relationships on a level playing field. He contributed his leadership skills to the Pheasants Forever national board, Great Plains Foundation, American Bank & Trust, South Dakota Board of Economic Development, and South Dakota Retailers’ Association, among many others. In 2015, he was awarded the Governor’s Distinguished Service Award by Governor Dennis Daugaard.

A lesser-known fact about Tim was his almost child-like enthusiasm for classic TV shows. Endearingly, he watched “Leave It to Beaver” daily, with “The Andy Griffith Show” in frequent rotation. Tim could often be heard whistling the iconic Andy Griffith theme. His mind was a steel trap for jingles and old commercials.

Tim was a loving, generous father and a dedicated husband to his wife of 46 years, Amy. Tim and Amy were inseparable. His commitment to her was fierce and unwavering, and it served as an inspiration to his three sons. His love for her was the single greatest gift he could have ever given to his boys.

As we remember Big Tim, we celebrate a life lived to the fullest – a life filled with laughter, leadership, and love for his family and friends. He was a man of true character and quiet, but strong faith. He left an indelible mark and will be deeply missed.

Tim is survived by his wife, Amy, and their three sons: Rob (Sarah), Reed (Kristina), and J.D. (Kristen); and his siblings: Ann, Betty, George, and Tom. He was a loving and generous grandfather to Eleanor, Gus, Sadie, Axel, Lily, Jens, Ben, Anna, Aubrey, and Afton.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Kay, and his sister, Jolene.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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