Katharina Gessler (nee Heim) of Lothian, Maryland passed away at her home on August 20, 2017. She was 88.

Katharina was born in Etyek, Hungary on November 25, 1928 to the late Franz and Maria (née Szabo) Heim. They were part of the ethnic German population in Southeast Europe known as Danube Swabians. As a child, she lived on a small vineyard with her family until the events of World War II forced them to flee their home forever. During her harrowing teenage years, she moved between Austrian refugee camps with her mother and sisters. They settled briefly in Boxberg, Germany. It was there that she met and married the late Anton Gessler (1920-2003), her beloved husband of 54 years and a former Hungarian soldier, who had narrowly escaped death during his four years in a Russian prisoner of war camp.

On June 13, 1952, they immigrated to the United States from a decimated post-war Germany. Katharina worked factory jobs while raising her two children in Capitol Heights, Maryland.
Katharina was an avid gardener who grew an inspiring array of fruits and vegetables. She produced cases of homemade jam every summer and canned her own pickles and tomato sauce. But her specialty was heirloom Hungarian wax peppers, which she, in the garden’s heyday, planted by the thousands. She planted the peppers every year until her death.

Katharina enjoyed cooking old Hungarian and German recipes and sharing them with her family during their ritual Sunday dinners. She liked telling stories about her childhood.

Katharina is survived by her devoted children Magdalena McGuire (Dr. Terrence McGuire) and Dr. Robert Gessler (Dr. Margaret Gessler); her beloved sisters Teresia Kesel of Boxberg, Germany and Juliana Glass of White Plains, Maryland; and her six faithful grandchildren: Erin and Caitlin McGuire and Katie, Julie, Amy and Becky Gessler.

Viewing

AUG 25. 02:00 PM – 04:00 PM

Lee Funeral Home – Clinton
6633 Old Alexandria Ferry Road
Clinton, MD, US, 20735

Viewing

AUG 25. 06:00 PM – 08:00 PM

Lee Funeral Home – Clinton
6633 Old Alexandria Ferry Road
Clinton, MD, US, 20735

Funeral Service

AUG 26. 10:00 AM

Lee Funeral Home – Clinton
6633 Old Alexandria Ferry Road
Clinton, MD, US, 20735

Interment

AUG 26. 11:15 AM

Resurrection Cemetery
8000 Woodyard Road
Clinton, MD, US, 20735