Edward H. Kelsmark passed away peacefully at his home on June 23, 2021 at the age of 98.
He was born on December 12, 1922 in Racine, Wisconsin to Carl and Evelyn (Williams) Kelsmark.
Father joined the Army in 1942 and served as an artillery mechanic in the field artillery of the 518th Heavy Maintenance Ordnance Company at the European Theater of Operations. His company landed in Normandy 3 weeks after D-Day and supported General Patton’s armaments in France and Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.
While working as a supervisor for the JI Case Machine Company in Racine, he met our mother LaVerne (Petersen). They married in 1947 and were blessed with 7 children over the course of their 68-year marriage.
He graduated from Texas Chiropractic College and practiced chiropractic in Sabinal, Eagle Pass, Rochester NY and briefly in San Antonio in the 1950s. Dad always cared for the best for his growing family, which led him to completely different career paths in the 1960s.
Dad enjoyed traveling, bowling, and gardening. The family enjoyed the fruits of his labor from the annual vegetable gardens. After retiring, he and his mother enjoyed trips to France, Italy, Japan and Hawaii.
They particularly enjoyed what he would call what he would call what he would call what he called “leisure fun” when he visited the casinos on his last trip in December.
A proud WWII veteran, Papa was a true patriot and loved his country. One of the most memorable experiences of his life was participating in the 2019 San Antonio Honor Flight that traveled to Washington, DC with fellow veterans honoring their wartime service.
“The Trip of a Lifetime” included a two-day program of visits to Arlington National Cemetery, War Memorials for World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Marine Corps Iwo Jima, and the Lincoln Memorial.
From the airport terminals, lined with crowds of applauding Americans, old and young, greeting and waving the flag “USA” to the many tourists in various places who shook hands with these men and women for their service, it was an experience he would never forget and make a proud moment for everyone.
Papa was the beloved patriarch of the family and our hero as he lived his life with faith, honor, and integrity in his thoughts, words, and deeds. He filled the role of fatherhood with all the strengths a man could.
Always a warm greeting, an open ear and full of smart advice, supportive, a straight shooter, direct and a problem solver. His commitment and love for our mother and family was immeasurable and he set the bar high.
He was preceded by his parents, daughter Claudia, wife LaVerne and son John, as well as the siblings Helen Wuerzberger and Ruth Wibbert in death.
Remaining family who have kept his memory are his daughters Cathy (Earnie) McKee, Carla (Fred) Signorelli, Kevin Ann Kelsmark, Shiela (Gary) Franks, Lisa West (Mike Juda); Grandson, Brian (Holly) McKee, Michelle Aguillon, Stacy Burda, Heather (Bill) Barker, Fred Signorelli, Jr. (Rachel), Lauren Gregory, Derek West, Lindsey West; Great-grandchildren Brenna Cordova, Abby McKee, Kendall McKee, Skylar Burda, Karissa Aguillon, Ava Barker, Olivia Barker, Caroline Barker; Great-great-granddaughter Aubrie Ugarte; Sisters-in-law Gloria Harmel, Toby (Dennis) Broege and numerous nieces and nephews.
We are blessed to have had him in our lives for so long and we will miss him dearly.
His memory will be cherished and forever in our hearts as our loving Father.
Graveside Services with US Army Honors will be held at Mission Burial Park North on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Reverend Bill Shockley will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or a charity of your choice.
For personal confirmation, you can register in the online guest book at www.missionparks.com in the Tributes area.
Published by Express-News on July 4, 2021.