Lou Nesslar, a certified diver for over 55 years, was an unassuming guy and one of the most experienced and accomplished divers in the Chicagoland area, a true pioneer in sport diving industry. Few divers and instructors have dedicated themselves to the diving community as Lou has.
Lou was certified in 1960 at Lake Geneva. Forget the wetsuit; his check out suit consisted of long johns, two pair of jeans, three wool sweaters and the ever-popular double hose regulator. He served in the Army, an E-4, from 63-65. Lou was located in England and one of his duties was that of a swimming instructor at American Independent Schools. He said it kept him out of KP duty. He lead a team of divers in a competitive British Sub Aqua Club, where he and his first single hose regulator reached depths of 80.
Following his military service, Lou worked his way into the position of a WGN Facilities manager, he personally knew Bozo. He had a second life as a dedicated husband and father.
His third life was diving.
He’s certified over 500 divers.
-1960 - Co-Founder of the Elmhurst H2Ogres SCUBA Club where he was an instructor; established the Ice Diving Instruction program with Bill Harman.
-1978: National YMCA sent Lou to Miami to take the course for certifying handicapped divers.
-Taught two blind individuals to dive, Lake Point Tower and Hines VALegendary Joe Strykowski appoints Lou as SCUBA Field Coordinator for YMCA’s Midwest region.
-Pioneered Certification of wheelchair bound divers.
-1979- Certified an X-coastguard officer who lost two legs and one hand.
-Hines VA hospital –Instructor for two years, furnishing all tanks, air and equipment.
-Instructed a high cervical quadriplegic, who also was a surgeon. It took him nine weeks to gain the confidence to move down the ramp, put on the gear and clear his mask.
-Board of Director member of the Aquatic Education Group which has sent close to 2000 Chicago Public School low income children and their teachers to the Shedd Aquarium; an annual event.
-Began volunteering at Our World-Underwater in 1965 as a lifeguard for the show, assisted with booths and exhibits; still volunteers today.
-Instructed at these YMCAs: Elmhurst, Hastings, Leaning Tower, Lakeview, and Lawson Northbrook.
-Inspected ocean-going vessels before leaving the harbor overseas.
-Developed Blind Bailouts as part of the YMCA program
-12 year volunteer with the Shedd Aquarium where he not only has participated in a wide range of duties, but also has been instrumental in developing a wide array of inventions that has aided the She'd. Following are but a few:
--SECORE (SExual COral REproduction) for 10 years.
--Has help design and built five versions of coral kreisels that are used in the field to raise larval corals.
--Developed barrier gates for animal care.
--Responsible for building and assembling detailed u/w tasks for MATE ROV competition.
--2016 Our World Underwater Someone You Should Know Award Recipient.
“His ingenuity, fabrication and execution of specialized equipment always amazes the Shedd staff.” “He’s the raw materials/blueprint/schematic guy every aquarium must have to make things go smoothly.” Need a recompression chamber for sea life; just ask Lou. One staff member wrote, “Working with Lou is mind expanding and quite gratifying.” There is a sign hanging up in one of the Shedd’s reserve areas that reads, “No one builds them like mother nature.” A staff member in another area wrote, “Have you met Lou Nesslar yet?” He has been an outstanding contributor to our sport diving community. There are few individuals who have given as selflessly as Lou Nesslar.