Kenneth R. Kelsey, age 96, of 5th St., Benton, passed away at 5:35 a.m. Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at the Brookdale Senior Living Center, Bloomsburg.
Born on June 28, 1923 in Derrs, he was the son of William O. and Irma N. (Keeler) Kelsey. Kenneth was a 1941 graduate of Benton High School and a lifelong resident of the Benton area. He was a self-employed carpenter and contractor.
Kenneth served in the U.S. Army during WWII in the European and South Pacific campaigns.
In 1950, he began his career in general contracting by building his own home in Maple Grove. He eventually expanded his craft by building hundreds of homes in the Benton area, including, pre-manufactured Lincoln homes and Poloron, “stick-built,” homes. He also bought a farm and remodeled the original Benton Fire Hall, Benton Christian Church, and made several additions to the Painter Den Hunting Cabin. He was instrumental in constructing the Nordmont Christian Camp.
Kenneth was an excellent wood worker and operated a wood working shop at the former Stillwater School for 25 years. He enjoyed hunting, traveling by RV, and reading. He was a member of Painter Den Club, Inc. for over 60 years, serving as Chaplain for most of that time. In his earlier years, he played 3rd base and pitched for the Stillwater baseball team and the Tri-County team in Benton. He hitch hiked across the country from California to get married.
Kenneth served as an Elder, trustee, teacher, board member, and president for the Benton Christian Church. He also served as a member and president of the Benton School Board.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, the former Ethel P. Crossley, on January 28, 2014; a son, Robert E. Kelsey, on July 8, 2010; a daughter, Sue Ellen Kelsey, on Jan. 28, 1955; and an infant daughter on July 3, 1961.
He is survived by five children: Sandra K., wife of Robert Hess, Benton, James A. Kelsey, Benton, Ronald W. Kelsey, and his wife Cheryl, Berwick; Jeffrey D. Kelsey, and his wife Sandra, Benton, Lynn E., wife of Kenneth W. Sutton, Sr., Palmerton; a daughter-in-law, Sandra Kelsey, Langhorne; 16 grandchildren; 34 great grandchildren; 2 great-great grandchildren; and a sister, Betty Miller, Grove, OK.
Services will be at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, February 14, 2020 in the Benton Christian Church, 305 3rd St., Benton, with Rev. Dr. David A. Mansfield, officiating. Viewing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the church. Interment will follow in Elan Memorial Park, Lime Ridge.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Capital Campaign at the Benton Christian Church, P.O. Box 264, Benton, PA 17814.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 30 2 ½ St., Benton.
To send flowers to Kenneth's family, please visit our floral section.
Capital Campaign at the Benton Christian Church
P.O. Box 264, Benton PA 17814