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Forrest Kelsey

Forrest L. Kelsey, age 89, passed away Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at his home in Marion.

Forrest was born in Marion on Feb. 5, 1929, the sixth child of Marion Earl and Blanche Cecelia Roberts Kelsey.

He attended Wren Country School on Pilsen Road. After a fire in their country home, they moved to Marion, and he attended the Hill and Bown-Corby schools and Marion High School.

After completing his senior year of high school with the class of 1948, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Band and was stationed at Fort Riley, where he took basic training.

Upon transfer to mechanized cavalry duty, he was sent to Japan and served as clerk to Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway during the Korean War.

Upon completion of his military service in 1952, he returned to Marion and attended Wichita State University for one semester.

On March 15, 1952, he was united in marriage to Joyce Schmidt. This marriage was blessed with two children, Cynthia Elaine Kelsey (1953) and Michael Ross Kelsey (1956), both born at St. Francis Hospital, Wichita.

He worked for Beech Aircraft and Cessna Aircraft, later taking a job with Innes (R.H. Macy and Co.) in Wichita and being promoted to Macy’s in Kansas City.

After that, the family moved to California, where he continued working for major department stores in management positions in accounting.

He served in the Boy Scouts of America with his son, Ross, who followed his father’s example by taking his two sons, Michael Jr. and Daniel, to scouting’s highest award, Eagle Scout.

Forrest returned to Marion and later married Beatrice Ruth Winter McKibbin, a former classmate, on Jan. 3, 1978.

With his wife Bea, they opened a paint, wall covering, gifts and custom picture framing store known as Bekel’s. After 10 years and a declining market, they closed the store, and Forrest took a position as assistant county treasurer in the courthouse, where he worked until his retirement.

Forrest was predeceased by his parents, Earl and Blanche Kelsey; daughter, Cynthia Elaine Kelsey Hamilton; brothers Don Kelsey and wife, Viola, and Wayne Kelsey and wife, Elsie; sisters Earline Allen and husband, Delmer; Frances Helmer and husband, Dan; Lois Raleigh and husband, Hurshel; and Treva Kerbs and husband, Jack; sisters-in-law Joan Kelsey and Clara Kelsey; nephews Laird Helmer and Terry Raleigh; and nieces Linda Kelsey, Juanita Allen, and Cecelia Allen.

He is survived by his wife, Bea; son Ross Kelsey and wife Robin of LaCresenta, California; grandsons Michael Ross Kelsey Jr. and wife Kimmie of Trabuco Canyon, California, and Daniel Robert Kelsey of Lake Worth, Florida; son-in-law Bill Hamilton, Sunland, California; granddaughter Dena Hamilton Lemus, Sunland, California; great-grandson Elijah William Lemus; great-granddaughters Kylie Ann Kelsey and Taylor Elaine Kelsey, Trabuco Canyon, California; brother Keith Kelsey, Windsor, Colorado; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Forrest has been a member of Marion Christian Church for more than 65 years and has served as treasurer, board president, deacon, elder, and member of the church choir and fellowship committee.

He has been a member of the VFW and American Legion for many years. He has been a member of St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary. He has enjoyed working as a volunteer at many tasks since his retirement in 1994.

Forrest was blessed with an ability to decorate interior homes and businesses and create beautiful floral arrangements for home, church, friends and other organizations.

Last modified Feb. 21, 2018

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