WARTELLA, LEANN MARIE (Kesler) peacefully passed away August 4, 2019.
She was born on February 12, 1975 to Paul and Diana Kesler. She married Brian M. Wartella on August 4, 2008 on Mackinac Island. Leann was preceded in death by her infant sister Julie Ann, grandparents Charles and Ruby Green and Hoten and Mary Kesler. She is survived by her husband, Brian; parents, Paul and Diana Kesler; brothers, Brian Kesler (fiancé Angie) and Charles Kesler (wife Emily); sister, April Keefover (husband Rob); niece, Mackenzie Kesler and nephews, Zachary and Nathan Keefover; also survived by Brian’s family – Henry and Patti Wartella (parents), Jillian (sister) and Nick Beccia, and nephew Anthony and niece Amelia Beccia. Leann was so proud to be a teacher and dedicated 14 years in working at Armstrong Middle School where she taught Language Arts, Writing, and Social Studies. She inspired all her students with her grit, her quick wit, her understanding and love. Her favorite things she would talk about were the messages and visits from her former students. Nothing gave her a greater feeling of warmth and pride in her job. Gilda and Hyde, Leann’s service dogs, worked faithfully alongside her to make coming into her classroom the favorite part of everyone’s day. She called them her ambassadors. Special thanks goes out to her friends and colleagues at Armstrong including Brenda and Jim Duplanty, Sue Lapanowski, Andrea Banks, Brenda Keener, Heather Brannan, Lynda Fox and many others. They were truly her family at work and had her back when she needed them. Leann loved to drive and chauffer her friends the “WCGs” or the Wheel Chair Gang as she affectionately called them. Shawn, Barb, Selma, Pam, Amanda, Alyssa and many others first met each other at VAD camp and would go on countless adventures. Whether at the mall, a Garth Brooks concert, or at a bar in Nashville, they weren’t afraid to clog up a few aisles to have fun. Leann looked forward to VAD camp every summer and always cherished the time she had there. At home, Leann was a lover of all animals especially her service dog Hyde and her four rescue cats – Clementine, Tinkerbelle, Jasper and Giuseppe. She started her career working at “Paws With a Cause” an organization that trains service dogs. She continued to be a donor even after leaving to teach. Leann loved reading and her kindle, listening to John Denver, and shopping for fashionable clothes and shoes. She was never afraid to push style boundaries and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same outfit twice. Needless to say her closet was a major design feature in her new house. Leann certainly was a lover of the “Finer Things.” It wasn’t unusual to find her and her mom eating a fancy brunch or Maurice salad at Hudson’s, or meeting friends at Andiamo for dinner. Leann also had fantastic taste in design, creating her own version of an HGTV house. She loved painting and working on crafts. She was entrepreneurial as well, starting “SistaCom” with her sister April when they were young, and even had a secret business in the works with her dear friend Barb. She was keeping the business name secret until they were ready to launch.
Leann loved family get-togethers at her mom and dad’s house in Mayville, where she learned the cunning Kesler rules of “no mercy” board game play. Newcomers including nieces, nephews, fiancés, young and old were not spared her wrath. Holidays were also something she looked forward to where she could see her sweet Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Scott – cousins Ally and Deanna, Peter and Andy, Kelly and Becky, her dear Uncle Mickie and Uncle Mike along with all the many other cousins, aunts, and uncles from the Green and Kesler families. Brian’s family adored Leann. Patti, Henry, and Mary loved her as their own. Jillian and Nick called her their “sister from another mister.” Leann endured countless medical obstacles but was always the strongest person in the face of adversity. Her family and friends were there when she needed them, including Dave Haas who helped her with her wheel chair needs and lovingly liked to help her keep her ego in check. Her dad Paul once famously promised Leann a pony to get her to wake up from anesthesia. Even in her last weeks, she never let him forget that he still owed her one. She loved the ocean and orca whales, always wanting to go back to Seattle to see her dear Aunt Nancy. She kept in touch with her friends growing up – Joy, Sarah, Lacy and Krista, and couldn’t wait to set up a breakfast or lunch date with her dad. It was her favorite thing to sit across the booth from him and make fun of him for ordering a whole meal and then adding a “Slim Jim” on the side at the last second. She made great friends in college as well – Lola and Hoppy who took her flying over her parents’ house, Lorraine, Chris, Hillary, and Katherine all had special places in her heart. Leann touched so many lives and the hole she left in all our hearts will almost certainly be impossible to fill. Her neighborhood will most definitely feel much emptier now, but know that she loved the time she was able to spend with Mike and Sherry, Kim and Eileen. She had her sights set on a life much more ambitious than any of us would dare to dream. And she left us much too early. But we will see her again someday. And Leann can cuddle on the couch with her sweet baby, And sit across from her dad in a booth, And laugh with us all once again.
…Our Sweet Sissy…Our Lanny Cat…Our Sweet Pearl
A celebration of Leann’s life will be 11:00 a.m. Monday, August 12, 2019 at Eastgate Baptist Church 4226 E. Atherton Road, Burton, Michigan. Eastgate Baptist Church will host a livestream on their Facebook page Rev. Jerome Taylor will officiate. Final resting place will be at Ortonville Cemetery. Family will receive friends on Monday starting at 10:00 a.m. and following the service with a luncheon until 2:30 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the family. Arrangements were entrusted to VILLAGE FUNERAL HOME, 135 South St., Ortonville. To send a condolence, go to