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Kesler retiring for real this time

September 07, 2000

Kesler retiring for real this time



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Emmy Lou and George KesslerSHARPSBURG - Sharpsburg Mayor George Kesler says that after trying to retire for 13 years, he plans to stick to it this time.

After 12 years on the Town Council and four years as mayor, Kesler will call it quits at the end of his term early next year.

"I'll be almost 76 years old when my term ends the first Monday in January. I just want to take it easy and back out of things a bit and enjoy some retirement," he said.

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Kesler had a major health scare two years ago when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, but said that wasn't why he is retiring. After two surgeries and six treatments Kesler said he found out in mid-July he's cancer free.

"The whole thing is I'm just kind of getting wore out I guess," he said.

While he'll probably miss holding elected office, Kesler said he won't miss it enough to return.

He tried to take a break from politics in 1994. He didn't run to keep his vice mayoral post, but continued to help the town with various matters and agreed in June 1996 to be appointed vice mayor to fill a vacancy.

Five months later he won an uncontested bid for mayor, saying he wanted to ensure the town's business was attended to properly.

Vice Mayor Sidney Gale and long-standing Councilman Ralph Hammond knew Kesler was talking about retiring, but they were surprised to learn he was serious.

"Everybody's working well together. That's why I hate to see him leave," said Hammond, who's served on the council since 1972.

George and Emmy Lou Kesler, of 208 S. Church St., bought the Sharpsburg General Store when they moved into town 24 years ago but sold it two years ago to their daughter, GeorgeAnn Jansson.

With Kesler's experience in elected office he is familiar with all aspects of town business, Gale said.

Kesler said either Hammond or his wife, Councilwoman Patti Hammond, would make a good mayor.

Ralph Hammond said he hadn't thought about running for mayor but probably will run to keep his council seat.

As mayor Kesler presides over the regular monthly meeting and work sessions and spends about two days a week at Town Hall.

"Some weeks I don't do hardly anything. Other weeks there's quite a bit I do," he said.

Kesler said he is particularly pleased with the way the Main Street renovation turned out considering all the problems town residents had with it, from drainage problems to trees being cut down.

He's also happy with the town's acquisition from Washington County, at no charge, of the old railroad station just outside town. County officials initially wanted to sell it for $25,000.

The town is leasing the station for $1 a year to the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum Inc., which is renovating the station for model train displays.

Kesler credits his wife with his success as mayor.

Emmy Lou Kesler said her husband will be relieved when he no longer has to worry about the town's details and can spend more time fishing and boating near their new place along the Potomac River.

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