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Robert L. Wessman

May 13, 1930 – December 31, 2022

Pastor Robert (“Bob”) Wessman, age 92, of Holland, Michigan died after a prolonged illness. He was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Pauline Wessman, and son, Christopher Wessman. He is survived by his wife, Leslie Wessman; four children (Teri, Craig, Kent, and Dylan); nine grandchildren (Trevor, Chris, Shawn, Joy, Calvin, Henry, Kurt, Katie, and Lily); and five great-grandchildren (Brenna, Ireland, Jaymes, Mychael, and Abernathy).

Robert graduated from Pontiac Central High School (1948) and The Ohio State University (1952). He served 21 years as a surface warfare officer in the United States Navy, retiring at the rank of Commander. Robert’s duty stations included Newport, RI; Washington, DC; Norfolk, VA; San Diego, CA; and Honolulu, HI. He sailed around the world, crossing Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans on multiple Navy ships. His final tour was as commanding officer of the destroyer, USS Wallace L. Lind (DD 703).

After retiring from the Navy, Robert attended Claremont School of Theology, earning Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees (1979). He then served 20 years as a pastor in the United Methodist Church, leading congregations in Mason, Caledonia, and Allegan, MI.

Robert was an avid reader of The New York Times and books about history, literature, philosophy, science, and theology. He also was a lover of jazz music, and a devotee of the TV show M*A*S*H. Robert was well known for his unique sense of humor; in-depth discussions about books, current events, and religion; and for driving a bright red Triumph TR4 convertible. Robert was a faithful companion for five Boxer dogs (Motif, Geoff, Chance, Mittens, and Buddy). He also was respected as the lone Buckeye among throngs of Spartans and Wolverines.

Most importantly, Robert will be remembered as a loving father and grandfather, devoted friend, steadfast shipmate, and caring pastor. Fair winds and following seas, Commander Wessman.

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be scheduled for the spring or summer. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a public education or veterans program in your community.

*Wessman, Robert L. – DECEASED [(FL) FL 2018; RL 1999] Mason: First (Assoc) 1979; Caledonia 1984; Allegan 1990; Retired 1999.

Last Updated on January 11, 2023

The Michigan Conference