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William O. Kelly

Jul 11, 2023 (0)

William Owen Kelly, 95, of O'Neill, died Wednesday, July 5, 2023 at the Norfolk Veterans' Home in Norfolk.

Visitation was held Monday, July 10, 2023 at Biglin's Mortuay in O'Neill with a Knights of Columbus rosary.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, July 11, 2023 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in O'Neill. Fr. Bernard Starman officiated.

Burial was in the O'Neill Cemetery in O'Neill with military honors provided by the O'Neill American Legion Simonson Post 93.

Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.

William was born on Sept. 5, 1927 in O'Neill to James and Mary (Bain) Kelly. He graduated from St. Mary's Academy in 1945, where he really enjoyed sports, especially football. 

After graduation, he enlisted into the United States Navy and served on the USS Caelum, the USS General H.W. Butner, where he spent time in the Great Lakes and Singapore.

Kelly returned to O'Neill after his honorable discharge in July of 1946 to work for his father at Kelly's Plumbing/Well Service. He was introduced to Marie Fox by his friends George and Opal Bosn, Opal just happened to be Marie's sister. He eventually followed Marie to California where they were united in marriage on Jan. 27, 1951 in Paramount, CA. 

They returned to O'Neill in 1953 where Kelly again worked for the family business. When his father passed suddenly in 1957, Kelly took over the company and added trenching to the business.  He operated it until his retirement in 1998 when he sold out.  

Soon after his retirement, Marie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Kelly became her caregiver until he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006. Marie passed away in 2009.

He enjoyed fishing and traveling.  Starting in 1991, the couple spent many winters in South Padre, Texas. Kelly was an avid Husker fan, loved the television shows MASH and Gunsmoke. He enjoyed playing Monopoly with his family.

Kelly was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.

William is survived by his two children Dana (Kord) Benson of O'Neill and John (Trudy Freudenburg) Kelly of Norfolk, two grandsons Joe Kelly and Thomas (Bethany) Kelly, two siblings Eileen Spittler of Beaverton, OR and Jim (Virginia) Kelly of El Paso, Texas, one brother-in-law Jerry Austin of Norfolk and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Marie Kelly in 2009, one daughter-in-law Margaret Kelly in 2007, two brothers Fritz Kelly and George Kelly and one sister Mary Lois Austin.      


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