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Nora Alice (Ruch) Kesel, age 87, of St. Elizabeth, passed away Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at Westbrook Terrace in Jefferson City. She was born on August 8, 1924, in Biehle, Missouri, daughter of the late Isadore and Emma Albertina (Schemel) Ruch. On May 23, 1943, in Apple Creek, Missouri, Nora married Philip Kesel, who preceded her in death on June 1, 1995. Nora had a long and satisfying career as a pediatric nursing aide at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Louis until her retirement. She, along with her husband and family returned to St. Elizabeth in 1979, where she continued her career as an aide at the St. Elizabeth Care Center for several years. She was the loving mother of 15 children and she cherished her 41 grandchildren and 71 great-grandchildren. She was honored to be chosen as Mother of the Year at the Mother's Shrine in Laurie, Missouri in 2010. She was an avid gardener and spent many hours enjoying her flowers and the bounty of her large vegetable gardens. She loved reading, fishing, and was a devoted St. Louis Cardinal Baseball fan. Nora was a member of the St. Lawrence Catholic Church in St. Elizabeth. She is survived by 14 children, Sylvester Kesel and wife Mary of St. Elizabeth, Genevieve Jaco and husband Leonard of Henley, Mary Jane Kesel of Jefferson City, Veronica Kemna and husband Victor of St. Elizabeth, Shirley Kemna and husband Henry of St. Elizabeth, Clara Wilde of Jefferson City, Donald Kesel of Dittmer, Roger Kesel and wife Ruth of Aragon, Georgia, Daniel Kesel of Pacific, Sharon Kesel of Jefferson City, Gail Kempker and husband John of Henley, Donna Belfiore and husband Tony of Jefferson City, Mark Kesel and wife Vonna of St. Elizabeth, and Dana Alexander and husband Mike of Dixon; one daughter-in-law, Greta Higginbotham of Bloomsdale; 41 grandchildren; 71 great-grandchildren; one sister, Grace Reiner; one sister-in-law, Marie Frey; and many nieces and nephews. She was also preceded in death by her son, Cletus; one great-grandson, Braden Schroeder; three brothers, Julius Ruch, Ludolph Ruch, and Raymond Ruch; and four sisters, Lona Ruch, Dora Howard, Olivia Ruch, and Clara Ruch. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, February 27, 2012, at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in St. Elizabeth. Rev. Clarence Wiederholt will officiate. Interment will be in St. Lawrence Cemetery in St. Elizabeth. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., on Sunday, February 26, at the St. Elizabeth Community Center. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Special Learning Center of Jefferson City. Arrangements are under the direction of Fancher-Rekus Funeral Home in St. Elizabeth. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.fancher-rekusfuneralhomes.com
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