Barbara “Barb” Gessel

Barbara “Barb” Gessel

Barbara “Barb” Gessel, of Saugatuck, Mich., loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend passed away Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 at the University of Iowa Hospital, following a courageous battle with cancer since August 2017. She was 56 years old. Barb was the daughter of Raymond and Kathryn (Rauch) Gessel.

Barb was born Feb. 3, 1962 in Marietta, Ohio. She enjoyed a loving relationship and marriage to Jennifer Roe for 14 years, and she was a devoted mother to Anthony Lazzaro.

Barb was of the Catholic faith and a member of St. Peter’s Church in Saugatuck.

She attended Ohio University for her undergraduate studies and went on to obtain a juris doctorate degree from the University of Toledo Law School. Her meaningful and lengthy career spanned multiple industries with many roles, focusing in the areas of labor relations and human resources. While most of her career was spent touching lives in the Toledo area, her final role was Chief Human Resources Officer for the Mercy Health Network, Iowa, where she retired following her diagnosis. Upon retirement, her dream was to live near a lake, so she and Jennifer settled in the resort area of Saugatuck, where she enjoyed many trips to Oval Beach and bike rides along the lake shore.

The highlight of Barb’s life always included spending time with family and friends. She enjoyed her annual family trips to Myrtle Beach and golf trips with friends. Her vacation destinations were usually dictated by the number of beaches and golf courses. One of her many joys was her deep and meaningful relationships with her infinite number of friends.

Barb was preceded in death by her father, infant sister Karen and her father- and mother-in-law, Raymond and Mary Jane Roe. Barb is survived by her wife, son, mother and three siblings, Alan (Sherry) Gessel (Highland Village TX), Tom (Kelly) Gessel (Durango, CO) and Erica (Fred) Golden (Galloway, OH); her sister and brother-in-laws, Patrice (David) Gilbert, Michael (Terri) Roe and Matthew Roe. Many wonderful nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, cousins and many dear friends also survive.

Barb’s best pal, Sammy, her toy yorkie that came into her life 10 years ago, and brought her so much joy and comfort, especially over this past 1.5 years. He was her favorite side kick and was at her side or on her lap constantly.

It was Barb’s wish to be cremated. Funeral services will be held at Coyle Funeral Home, 1770 S. Reynolds Road, Toledo, Ohio, with visitation from 3 – 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 and from 1 – 4 pm on Sunday, Jan. 13. A Catholic prayer service will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, officiated by Father Joseph Cardone.

In lieu of flowers, please consider Barb’s request for contributions to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Please leave a condolence message for the family at