Kessler was in his 50th year with the department. A fixture at the fire station, it wasn't unusual to drive by and see the chief working on equipment.
He was among a group of long-time firefighters recognized by the department this spring, and the one with the most years of service.
An Otterbein College graduate, he was a Navy veteran. He returned to his home in Tipp City following the military and worked at Tip Top Canning for 38 years before retirement.
"He was the cornerstone of the department and well respected by his staff," City Manager Tim Eggleston said Sunday. "He will be missed."