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Chelsea R. Kesselheim

Oct 8, 2013 - Staff

Chelsea R. Kesselheim, of Lander, died Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at home.

Services will be at a later date.

Chelsea Robbins Kesselheim was born in 1927 in Bronxville, N.Y., the daughter of Hilda (Bergner) and James Stanton Robbins.

Her parents were in the travel business so the family lived both overseas and in the United States.

Two years after marrying and graduating from Stanford University, the Kesselheims took on a teaching assignment in Tarsus, Turkey, where they developed lifelong friendships and had two sons, Alan and Craig. In 1957 they returned to the United States to continue their teaching careers and raise their family. In 1960, their daughter, Ann Noel, was born in Boston.

Mrs. Kesselheim taught English and specialized in world literature.

Throughout their careers, the couple lived in Illinois, Massachusetts and Colorado. After their children left home, the couple again taught overseas, first in India and then in Turkey.

They moved to Lander in 1985.

Mrs. Kesselheim was active in the Civil Rights protests in the deep south during the 1960s, in the Vietnam War protests of the 1970s, and in volunteer efforts on behalf of the environment. For several decades after retirement, the Kesselheims were leaders of the Alternatives to Violence program in Wyoming prisons. Mrs. Kesselheim also was committed to recycling and helped launch the First Stop Help Center.

In 1998, Mrs. Kesselheim began Women For Women, a fund for indigent women in need of abortions, and in 2011, she was honored by the National Network of Abortion Funds with the Living Legend award.

Her family said she loved travel, cultural immersion and nature, and she especially loved fossil hunting in shale quarries in southern Illinois, exploring the winter shoreline of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin, digging for clams on the beaches of Connecticut, and walking through granite spires on the flanks of Pikes Peak. She also had an abiding love of good dinner conversation and a knack for provoking meaningful discussion. She was known for her repertoire of parlor games and famously challenged dinner guests to eat with random utensils like turkey basters or corn tongs.

She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Donn; sisters Noel Congdon and Judith King; children Alan, Craig and Ann Noel; and seven grandchildren.

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