Plymouth County

Pfc. Edward O. Kelly



Mr. and Mrs. Orrin Kelly received a letter Saturday from their son, Pvt. Edward Kelly, dated February 12. It said that he was somewhere in France. He said he arrived safely but otherwise gave very little information.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, February 26, 1945

Victor Peters, Norman DeJager Wounded

Edward Kelly Missing

Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly were notified by the War Department on Thursday that their son, Pfc. Edward Kelly, is missing in action in Germany since April 12.

Pfc. Kelly entered the service in June, 1942, and was sent overseas in January, 1945. His parents believe he is either a member of General Patton’s Third Army or the Seventh Army but have no definite assurance of this fact.

Their other son, Pfc. Robert Kelly, has been a prisoner of war in Jap territory since the spring of 1942 and word received in January this year stated he had been moved to a prison camp on Honshu Island.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, April 27, 1945

Gave Life Fighting On German Soil On April 12

Pfc. Ed Kelly, son of Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly of this city, who was reported missing in action, now has paid the supreme sacrifice for his country.

A telegram from the War Department arrived at the Kelly home Tuesday morning stating their son was killed in action, somewhere in Germany on April 12. He was a member of the fast armored infantry.

The last word received from him was a letter he started on Easter Sunday, April 1. He finished the letter on April 3 and it arrived here April 15. He mentioned the fact that it took him several days to write the letter as things were happening so fast that it was hard to keep with the times.
He told his parents of a “job that had to be done.” He also wrote of hearing sniper bullets whistle by at times. Pfc. Kelly told of the beautiful churches still left in Germany and how he attended mass on Easter Sunday.

Pfc. Kelly enlisted in the Army in September, 1943, and later took his basic ASTP training at Camp Roberts. When this training was eliminated, he entered the fast armored division.

Mr. and Mrs. Kelly have another son, Bob Kelly, who has been a Jap prisoner for several years. The last they heard from him was a postcard dated May 6, 1944.

Edward Orrin Kelly was born on November 15, 1922, near Remsen, and attended the rural schools and was graduated from there in 1940. He attended Western Union College for three years, the last year of which he was in the Army reserve having enlisted in 1942.

On June 12, 1943, he enrolled in Pasadena Junior College under the A. S. T. P. engineering course. Following the discontinuance of this training, his unit was transferred to the infantry for fast armored action at Camp Bowie, Tex. He had a year’s training at this and then was shipped overseas, making the landing at LaHavre. He spent two months in France and Germany.

Edward was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Company D, and when in high school was a member of the local band.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, May 3, 1945


A solemn requiem high mass will be held at St. James Catholic church Saturday at 10 a.m. for Ed Kelly, whose death in action was reported last week by the War Department to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly.

Celebrant of the mass will be Fr. W.E. Bauer, Monsignor M.E. Schemel of St. Mary’s at Remsen will be deacon, and Fr. E.V. Vollmer of Sacred Heart Hospital, subdeacon. Fr. E.D. Thom of St. Joseph’s church, LeMars, will be master of ceremonies.
Representatives of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion will be present. At the request of the boy’s parents, there will be no military rites.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, May 7, 1945 (photo included)


The remains of Pfc. Edward O. Kelly, who died on April 12, 1945, from cerebral gunshot wounds suffered during a counter-attack by Germans at Dunnwald, Germany, are due to arrive in LeMars Saturday noon.

He was born at Remsen on Nov. 15, 1922, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Orrin Kelly, and lived on a farm near there. He attended rural school and St. Mary’s School at Remsen, and graduated from the LeMars High School in 1940, where he was active in Band, Orchestra, Glee Club and Triple D activities. He later enrolled at Western Union College in Music and Mathematics and completed three years of the course while in the Engineer Corps Reserve.

While attending college here, he was employed by the Plymouth Co-Op Oil Company and the Vallet Cleaners.
He was a member of the Western Union (now Westmar) College Band and the LeMars City Band, and was director of St. James Choir. Also he was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

In June 1943, he went to Camp Dodge and from there to Camp Roberts, California. In December he was transferred to A.S.T.P. with training at Pasadena Junior College until the following March when all A.S.T.P. students were transferred to the Infantry. Following ten months training at Camp Bowie, Texas, he moved to E.T.O. with the 59th Armored Infantry Battalion, Black Cat Division.

Pfc. Kelly was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Bronze Star Medal, posthumously, for his heroic achievements in the line of duty.

Graveside services were conducted at Ittenbach, Germany, and later interment was made in the U.S. Cemetery at Margraten, Holland.

He was preceded in death by two sisters and one brother, and is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. O. M. Kelly, and a brother, R. J. Kelly.

After the arrival of the remains in LeMars, they will be taken to Wiltgen’s Funeral Home and remain there until time of the service. The funeral services, with full military honors, will be Monday, January 24, at 9:00 a.m. at St. James Church. Burial will be St. Mary’s Cemetery at Remsen.

The Knights of Columbus will recite the Rosary Saturday evening at 8:30. Parish Rosary will be recited at 8:00 o’clock Sunday evening.

Source: Local newspaper, January 20, 1949 (photo included)