Donald T. Sesslar, 81, of Rockford passed away Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. He was born Aug. 29, 1931, in Ottumwa, Iowa, son of James R. and Elenore (Goldsmith) Sesslar.
Don was a captain of the renowned Black Horse Troop B at Culver Academy. He attended and graduated from Millikin University in Decatur, where he played football, earning four varsity letters and serving as team captain in 1953; and was an active member of the SAE Fraternity. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps; he was trained as a pilot and flew a variety of Marine jet fighters. Don served actively from 1954 to 1961, and then in the USMC Reserves from 1961 to 1965.
On Feb. 22, 1958, he married Marie Bauer in Baltimore, Md. Don's professional flying career spanned more than 25 years and 20,000 hours with American Airlines, during which he captained a number of planes including the L-188 Electra, B-727 and the DC-10. He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Grey Eagles and Silver Stripes. He was an active volunteer with the Rockford Reachout Jail Ministry program for more than 25 years.
Don was always extremely proud of his family and loved them very much. Don is survived by loving wife of more than 54 years, Marie; daughters, Dawn Sesslar-Dailey of Chandler, Ariz., Lynn (John) McNeal of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Lee (Dennis) Sesslar-Bednarz of Rockford; grandchildren, Paige, Abby, Maddie and Chloe McNeal, and Jack Bednarz. He was predeceased by parents; brother, James R. Sesslar Jr.; and son-in-law, Dennis Dailey.
Published in Rockford Register Star from December 12 to December 13, 2012