Cover photo for Earl Kelley's Obituary
Earl Kelley Profile Photo
1930 Earl 2021

Earl Kelley

November 27, 1930 — December 18, 2021


Earl F. Kelley, 91, of Kahoka, passed away at 1:12 am, on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at the Clark County Nursing Home in Kahoka.

He was born on November 27, 1930 in Highland Park, Illinois the son of the late Ferdinand and Hilda (Pilto) Kelley. Earl graduated from Highland Park High School and was later drafted into the United States Army in 1951. His basic training was at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii. He was later stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts followed by Fort Drum, New York, where he was in charge of the truck driving school. He was discharged in 1953 and then Earl married Nancy Zahnle on February 11, 1956, and she preceded him in death in 1994. They lived in Deerfield, Illinois for many years, raising their five children.

Earl worked a variety of odd jobs including bus driver, dump truck driver and auto mechanic. He was always available to help his children with their cars when they would break down. Later in life, Earl took up woodworking as a hobby. He enjoyed making toys for his grandchildren.

After Nancy passed, Earl retired and moved to Wayland. He kept himself busy remodeling his entire house, an accomplishment that Earl did by himself. When Earl became unable to drive his car, he purchased a scooter that he loved to drive to the grocery store and elsewhere around town. When Earl fractured his hip last year, he made his home at the Clark County Nursing Home where he entertained the staff with a variety of stories. Earl was a lifetime member of the American Legion Herman Blum Post #192 where he served as a chaplain for many years.

Earl is survived by his children; Dan Kelley of Lansing, Michigan, Mary (Tim) McDaniel of Kahoka, Jeffery (Dawn) Kelley of Gurnee, Illinois, Michael (Karen) Kelley of Gurnee, Illinois and Brian (Beth) Kelley of Harvard, Illinois, brothers; Pat (Nancy) Kelley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, David (Jean) Kelley of Fredericksburg, Virginia and Bruce (Judy) Kelley of Las Cruces, New Mexico, eight grandchildren, three great grandchildren and by several nieces and nephews. Besides his parents and wife, Earl was preceded in death by an infant daughter; Elizabeth Kelley and by a sister; Elaine LaBelle.

Memorial services honoring Earl’s life were conducted at 2:00 pm on Sunday, December 26, 2021, at the Wilson & Triplett Funeral Home in Kahoka. Pastor Rick Addison officiated. Military honors were accorded by the American Legion Herman Blum Post #192 and by the VFW Post #4342. Inurnment will be held at a later date at Memory Gardens in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Memorial contributions in memory of Earl were suggested to the DAV (Disabled American Veterans). You are invited to share your memories of Earl and leave a condolence at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Earl Kelley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Wilson & Triplett FH


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