Jean L. Kesner

Date of Passing:

January 21, 2024

Kesner, Jean L., (Laidler), celebrated her 100th birthday this past April. She lived in Riverside for these past fifty years, but was a lifelong Townie. Jean died peacefully at home on January 21, 2024 surrounded by her loving family.

Born in Providence she was a first generation American, the youngest daughter of the late Joseph and Bessie (Craddock) Laidler who immigrated from England in the early 1900s. In addition to her sister the late Edith Larned and brother the late William Laidler she had a large extended family of aunts and uncles and always had a funny or interesting story to share about her youthful shenanigans.

Jean was a proud United States Marine Corps World War II Veteran. She served proudly and was honorably discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant at the end of the war. She was among the first female Marines to enlist from Rhode Island, doing so on her 20th birthday. She was a member of the Woman’s Marine Corp Auxiliary.

Mrs. Kesner was one of the first female employees at the Providence Post Office. She served for over 32 years retiring as a Supervisor/Trainer.

Jean was a charter member of the Piecemakers Quilt Group and a member of the E.P. Senior Bowling League. She was an active member of the E.P. Senior Center. She was a past Girl Scout and Cub Scout Leader and a past docent at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.

Whatever interest or hobby Jean pursued was with passion and tenacity. She was an artistic quilter, with an amazing eye for color, design and detail. She created beautiful quilts for every new baby, every new bride and every special occasion in the lives of her children and grandchildren. As recently as this past October she won a 3rd prize ribbon for a non-traditional winter quilt she entered in the Piecemakers Quilt Show.

Jean was also a talented Stained Glass Artist. She leaves an amazing legacy of unique and treasured pieces for her family to enjoy.

She is survived by six children who loved her dearly, Michael H. Kesner (Christine) of Chapel Hill, NC, Bonnie Jean Marks (Peter) of East Greenwich, Jill Kesner Bowen (George) of Riverside, Becky Kesner Bessette (John) of Riverside, Karen Kesner of Rumford and Peter Kesner (Linda) of Exeter; twelve grandchildren; twenty-one great grandchildren and one great-great grandson. Her much-loved Yorkie, Mini was her final furry companion.

Jean was the North Star of her family, she was the constant, providing direction not through advice but by her example of honesty, hard work, creativity, tenacity and love. Simply a life well lived.

Her funeral service will be held on Saturday January 27, 2024 at St. James Lutheran Church, 49 Middle Highway, Barrington at 10 a.m. Calling hours are Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m. in St. James Lutheran, Church. Burial with Military Honors will follow in Springvale Cemetery, Rumford.

Contributions in Jean’s memory to Rhode Island community Food Bank, 200 Niantic Avenue, Providence, RI 02907 or the Scholarship Foundation of East Providence, PO Box 154438, East Providence, RI 02915. Please note in the memo portion of the check that the donation is for the Kesner Scholarship.

Online Condolences


  1. On behalf of the Women Marines Association, I want to offer our sincere condolences at the loss of your loved one. Please know of our thoughts and prayers. It is our profound hope that you can take comfort in knowing your beloved Marine has left this life to take up her rightful place in Heaven. As the 3rd stanza of the Marines Hymn reads, “If the Army and the Navy ever looked on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.”

    Semper Fidelis.

    Melinda Townsend
    WMA National Chaplain
    [email protected] | Facebook | Instagram
    HQ: 401 Edgewater Place, Suite 600, Wakefield, MA, 01880 USA

  2. I knew Jean in her role as a docent in the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology experiential education program. She was a cheerful, well prepared, effective teacher and wholeheartedly committed to her job with us. She lived a long and meaningful life. A life to be emulated.

  3. My heart is indeed saddened to learn of you Mum’s passing. You were all blessed to have her in your life for so many years along with all of the precious memories she bestowed upon each and every one of you. Her son Michael first became a part of our family as our paper boy when we lived on Potter St. in East Prov. then when my own Mum was at St. Elizabeth Nursing Home in East Greenwich she often visited my Mum and granted her extra smiles for her day, a great friend indeed and beloved for all who were blessed to have her step into their journey of life.

  4. Jean Kesner was like no one else. She fully engaged in life. Her legacy of courage, creativity and perseverance lives on. Truly she had a life well lived .

  5. Dear Kesner Cousins,
    Mark and I are so sorry for the loss of Aunt Jean. What an incredible lady she was. I have lots of childhood memories spending time in Rhode Island with you all. We are thinking of you during this difficult time.

    Love, Mark and Nancy (Deane) Kluga

  6. Remembering a life well lived, we are sending you strength, wishing you healing and keeping you all close in hearts and thoughts. Our deepest sympathies.
    Jean was an amazing woman and she nurtured an amazing, supportive family.
    She will be missed dearly by all of her loving family and friends!
    Hugs and prayers to you all.

  7. Outstanding, Marine. Semper Fi.

  8. Semper Fidelis Marine.
    Til Valhalla Rest in Peace.

  9. Jean was quite a lady. She would come to our church’s
    Tea and won the hat contest. She enjoyed it and looked forward to it each year.
    She was an amazing quilter to be able to
    see a picture in the magazine and make the quilt. Will always remember her smile and her will to keep on going. Miss you
    Jean. ❤️

  10. Karen and family, all my love and prayers to you all. Keep her memories with you always and rest easy you were all there and celebrate her fantastic life.

  11. So sorry for your loss, she will be missed.

  12. Truly an amazing woman, amazing life and amazing family. What a legacy. She will continue to be your North Star.

  13. So sorry to hear of Jean’s passing. She was in my chair exercise class at EPSC. I loved her energy. I will miss her.She did many activities.

  14. Being a member of the East Providence Senior Center, I was saddened to hear of your mother’s passing.
    We were in Chair Exercise class together. We were so happy to share in her 100th birthday at the Center.
    I will miss her being a part of our lives.

  15. Jean Kesner quite frankly was an amazing, creative, talented and incredible woman. She was part of the greatest generation who lived through some of the toughest times in US history and served her nation proudly in the toughest service as a Marine. She led an exemplary life with humor and spunk. I always respected her directness. Never one to mince words that was Jean. I’m so happy she was at our Christmas Quilt Party in December. I will miss her. ❤️🙏🏻😇😇. Sending my love and prayers to the family.

  16. Dear Becky and family, As a former classmate and friend, I wish to extend my condolences and heartfelt prayers to you and family during this time of profound loss and sorrow.May your wonderful mom Rest in blissful, beautiful and divine peace . God bless you.

  17. Dear Becky and family, As a former classmate and friend, I wish to extend my condolences and heartfelt prayers to you and family during this time of profound life as and sorrow.May your wonderful mom Rest in blissful, beautiful and divine peace . God bless you.

  18. I was saddened to hear of her passing this morning at the robert rock senior center. Before covid she was a constant at chair yoga. We also had an art show at the center where one of her quilted pictures won best in show. She was an amazing woman who i was lucky to know. May her memory be a blessing

  19. So sorry for your loss seems like it was just a few weeks ago when I last saw her to say hi big smile and still walking with no help she inspired me to live a better life Jean you will be missed

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