PAUL WIRT KESSLER (1897/8 - 1951)
"Pop" or sometimes "Bill"

(CNAC May/June 1941 - December 1944)
(Captain - July 14 (Condors) and September 18 (Regular passenger service), 1941)
(Hump Flights = XXX)

June 9, 2001
I have been in contact with Judy Polanich, the niece of Paul Kessler. She has stacks of photos and lots of documents. She has started working on a biography for Paul. Best calucation from Pauls logbook is that he flew 2,635 hours for CNAC and about 13,000 hours in his flying career. Please check back for updates.

Unless otherwise stated, all the following photos and documents are courtesy of Judy Polanich the niece of Paul Kessler. Thanks Judy.

On board the S.S. Nellore, EAA Co.
Mr. & Mrs. Kessler and Skip Adair



December 8, 1941 - thatís December 7, 1941 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Chuck Sharp, Pop Kessler, Maj Woods and Emil Scott while they are hiding among boulders during a Jap raid a short distance from Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong. Also, an unidentified male military(?) person in a white hat, at Sharp's left. Manila bombed that same day. A similar picture is in "Wings Over Asia, Vol IV", but this photo is courtesy of Judy Polanich, the niece of Paul "Pop" Kessler.

Chicago Daily Tribune
Monday, December 15, 1941

Paul Kessler and Syd de Kantzow -- Anyone know what the medal is next to the wings?

Paul Kessler and Syd de Kantzow

Hal Sweet, Syd de Kantzow and Paul Kessler

Flight Record

Letter of Recommendation

Maude and Paul Kessler

That's Maude on the left - anyone know the other folks?

August 18, 2010

Hi Tom,

I have just found a record showing the date and city of Paul's death. I will copy and paste it below my response. Also, in reference to his date of birth, the June 1900 census lists it as March 1897 and his WW I Draft Registration card has his birthdate as 7 March 1897. However, both of these records are not official as the first one was orally given by a parent and the second one was self-reported. His obit indicates he was 52 which would make his birth year 1898 as he was two months shy of his birthday when he died 8 January 1951.

I have a medal inside a box, similar to a jewelry box; the obituary was inside. My relation to Paul Kessler is not very direct, but may explain how I came in possession of these items. Paul had a brother name Charles, nicknamed Clarke. Clarke married my grandmother's sister. I do not know how my family ended up with the medal as we lived in California while my grandmother's family at that time lived in Chicago, as did Paul and his brother. My guess is that either Paul must have visited my family and somehow the medal was left behind or after his death, my grandmother brought it. I do not know (see scans below).

Here is a scanned copy of the obit (see below).

KL Aguilar

front of medal

back of medal

If you can share any information about Paul and Maude Kessler
or would like to be added to the CNAC e-mail distribution list,
please let the CNAC Web Editor, Tom Moore, know.

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