The Tyndale community mourns the passing of Dr. John Kessler, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament. John passed away on Friday, September 8, with his wife Sandra by his side.
John’s Tyndale journey began as a student, having completed his undergraduate degree in 1978. He began teaching while a graduate student, followed by joining the core faculty full-time in 1992. Having retired this past Spring he was honored with the title, Professor Emeritus. For over 30 years Dr. Kessler was an instrumental figure at Tyndale Seminary and the institution as a whole. He was a highly respected and acclaimed scholar in the Hebrew Bible with a formidable intellect – the very model of a gifted and prolific academic. Having published numerous chapters, articles, and manuscripts over the years on a range of topics, his contribution to theological education is profound and lasting.
Dr. Kessler was much more than his notable scholarship. In the classroom he modeled how to approach theological questions thoughtfully, honestly and with grace, teaching students to read the Old Testament in fresh and transformative ways. He enriched the academic experience of his students with his kind and gentle spirit and an always open door. As a colleague, his wisdom and generosity of spirit were invaluable. He was a mentor and friend to many, serving as the Chair of the Seminary’s Biblical Studies Department along with many committees and councils over the years.
While we grieve the loss of our beloved former colleague and professor, we also celebrate his life and impact on all those who have been blessed by his teaching and friendship. Thousands of students have been profoundly shaped by Dr. Kessler’s scholarship in and out of the classroom, an influence which will live on as his legacy.
We pray for his wife Sandra and son James as they grieve this deep loss as well as all who knew John closely. Please also pray for Tyndale students, faculty, and staff during this time of sadness.