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John Fessler


Date and Place of Birth: February 21, 1915 Harrisburg, PA
Date and Place of Death:    June 10,1944 Amfreville, Normandy, France
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Shortstop
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Military Unit: Service Company, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

John H. Fessler, son of Leo and Florence Fessler, was born on February 21, 1915 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. He signed with the Centreville Colts of the Class D Eastern Shore League – a Phillies farm team – in 1938. After a slow start he was released in June and immediately signed by the Easton Cubs of the same league. Fessler, who played shortstop and second base, appeared in 25 games and batted .180 with one home run.

Fessler was out of organized baseball in 1939, but returned in 1940 to play in the Class D Mountain State League with the Huntington Aces and the Bluefield Blue-Grays. In 70 games he batted .243 and drove in 25 runs.

In 1941, Fessler played 116 games at shortstop with the Goldsboro Goldbugs of the Class D Coastal Plain League and batted .279 with 43 RBIs and league high 37 stolen bases. He also led the Goldbugs in games played and runs scored (88), while leading the league with 481 at-bats.

Fessler entered military service on April 21, 1942 and served with the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was an outstanding member of the regiment’s basketball team.

On June 6, 1944, Staff Sergeant Fessler parachuted into Normandy and landed close to the Merderet River. He was killed in action just four days later at Amfreville, on June 10, 1944.

In November 1948, Fessler's body was returned to Pine Grove and finally laid to rest at Saint Johns Lutheran Cemetery.














1938 Centreville/
Eastern Shore D 25 89 11 16 6 0 1 8 .180
1939 Did Not Play
1940 Huntington/
Mountain State D 70 263 41 64 11 5 1 25 .243
1941 Goldsboro Coastal Plain D 116 481 88 134 21 6 2 43 .279


John Fessler

John Fessler's grave at Saint Johns Lutheran Cemetery in Pine Grove,  Pennsylvania

Thanks to Astrid van Erp for help with information for this biography.

Date Added January 29, 2012 Updated August 2, 2017

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