Vergil W. Kelley

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Vergil Wilson Kelley

January 9, 1916 - February 21, 2014

Vergil was born on a farm in Yeddo, Indiana, the first of five children. In high school during the Great Depression, he loaned the car he bought to his dad to get to work, and lived on a dairy farm nearer town, milking cows, and sending money home to his folks. His principal provided a full suit of clothes to permit Vergil to attend the graduation at which he was awarded a full scholarship to teacher's college. Preferring to be an engineer, he turned it down; drove a truck (learning to "look way down the road"); and fixed every bike, motor, and motorcycle he could find. While playing guitar with his father in a square dance band he met Lena Mae Hoel whom he married August 17, 1938.

He served his country gaining mechanical training, landing at Omaha Beach 9 days after D-Day, and repairing vehicles across Europe for 2 ½ years (even in the dark). Returning home, he was able to attend college on the GI Bill, graduating in the top 10% of his U of I Mechanical Engineering class while working part-time and helping Lena raise two daughters, Janet Sue and Peggy Lou. Employed by International Harvester in Fort Wayne, IN, he advanced to Chief Engineer and mentored two young engineers from India who today think of him as their American Dad. He became an active and leading member of the West Creighton Christian Church.

Retiring at 62, he bought an Airstream trailer, visited 49 states, and moved to Robin Run Retirement Community in Indianapolis. Vergil excelled at ping pong, pool, shuffle board, New Zealand bowls, and shooing messy geese away with the help of his sheltie, Millie. Recent months found him in his favorite chair reading Westerns and "Sufferin' from pure comfort." Just last month he flew to CA to celebrate his 98th birthday and to meet his great-granddaughter. A model of integrity, honesty, generosity, ingenuity, skill, and wisdom, he is survived by his daughters, their husband and fiancée, four grandsons, and four great-grandchildren, the newest of whom, Vivienne Kelley Fisher, took her first steps in this world just as Vergil took his into the next. A Memorial Service will be held at the Robin Run Village Chapel in Indianapolis at 2 p.m. Thurs. Feb 27. Contributions in Vergil's fine name may be made to Boys Town National Headquarters, 14100 Crawford St., Boys Town, NE 68010. Arrangements are entrusted to Flanner and Buchanan - Zionsville . You are invited to see photos from Vergil's remarkable life and leave a message for his family at:

Funeral Home
Flanner and Buchanan – Zionsville
105 W Pine St
Zionsville, IN 46077
(317) 873-3366
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Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Feb. 25, 2014
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