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Rev. Robert L. Kersten

Robert L. Kersten peacefully took the hand of Jesus and entered heaven on April 10, 2021.

Robert was born in St. Clair, Michigan, to Clarence and Juanita Kersten and grew up in Marysville, MI, in a loving and caring Christian home. He was in the marching band at Marysville High School, where he graduated in 1949. It was there that he met Carol Frye, his high school sweetheart. He was a talented athlete and loved music, playing the tuba and piano.

Bob began his studies at the University of Michigan and played tuba in the U of M marching band. He completed his college career at Alma College, where he was on the basketball team and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He and Carol were married in Alma in 1951. After graduation Bob worked for General Motors for 9 years while living and working in Saginaw, MI. He was called to the ministry in 1960, and attended Garrett Theological Seminary, graduating with a Masters of Divinity degree in 1967. He served in various United Methodist Churches in Michigan over his ministry of 35 years: Stanwood/Higbee; Burr Oak; Napoleon; Barry County: Woodland/Hastings: Welcome Corners; and Vermontville/Gresham.  Bob loved and served the Lord with his whole heart, mind, soul and strength. He focused his ministry passion on families, children/youth, missions and evangelism. He also cared deeply for camping programs, world hunger and stewardship.

Bob and Carol were married for a remarkable 65 years, until Carol passed away in 2017. They were blessed with six children: Larry (Linda) Kersten, Robert Kersten II, Ann (David) Smiley, Laura (Stephen) Hahn, Susan (friend Corey) Symington-Kersten and Sondra (Lee) Johnson, 16 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Jack and sister Jane Butters.

After retiring from the ministry Bob and Carol settled in Lansing, MI, still serving in churches and camps. They loved being snowbirds with their Arizona family and moved permanently to Chandler, AZ, in 2015. They were active in their senior community and their local church in Chandler. Together they shared their love for Jesus with all who knew them. Bob loved and cared deeply for anyone whom he met. He loved to stay in contact with all of his family and friends through his artwork and kind, loving letters and phone calls. Bob lived admirably after losing Carol and continued to be active in the programs at his home. He always enjoyed sharing his humor and lifetime experiences!

Our family would like to thank The Gardens at Ocotillo staff, Hospice of the Valley nurse Teresa and Angela, Endeavor Home Care caregivers Tim, Barbara and Sylvia, our niece Tracy Kersten and his daughter Susan for their additional love and care during his last few weeks of needing additional care.

He was always filled with love and joy for the Lord and concerned for the souls of all people. He was well-known wherever he lived and continued to share the gospel until his last days. We know he lost nothing in his passing, but instead gained everything. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled… I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am…. John 14:1-6.

Private burial services will be held at Riverlawn Cemetery in Marysville, MI.

Funeral arrangements are in the care of Dignity Memorial.  The online obituary and guestbook can be found here

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice of the Valley, www.hov.org, Simpson Park Camp, https://simpsonparkcamp.org, or Bayshore Camp and Family Ministries, info@bayshorecamp.org