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My mother had only one sister; my father had one sister. Every girl needs an uncle, so I adopted Norris Kelsey for mine and along with that, his adorable wife, Virginia Bannon Kelsey, became my Aunt Ginny. As an added plus, I ended-up with three sisters, their daughters, Janet, Nancy and Rita, especially Nancy.
Norris Leroy Kelsey was born in Manistee County, Michigan 23 September 1920, one of six children born to Walter Samuel and Nellie May (Hoffman) Kelsey. His father died very young (not yet 33) leaving the children from age 5 to 10. Uncle Norris was taken in by Otis and Mary Couger. For many years, though the six would get together for family reunions and the Kelsey Reunion is still happening in Michigan even though most or all of the six are gone.
Uncle Norris had been married only a couple of weeks when he went into the military (August 12, 1942) where he became a cook for the 544th Engineer Boat and Share REgiment. In 1944, he went overseas and served in New Guinea, South Phillippines and Luzon. At the end of the war, he laid-over in Japan and was discharged December 4, 1945. He collected two bronze stars, the good conduct medal, a bronze arrowhead and other awards.
Having worked at Raybestos for many years, he and Aunt Ginny also had a florist shop in New Market. He graduated from New Market and worked a couple of years at RR Donnelley before he was drafted. Upon returning, he farmed for awhile and also drove a school bus for South Montgomery for twelve years.
Active members of the New Market First Baptist Church, he served in several capacities, always loving his God and church. He also was in Masons, the Scottish Rite; Eastern Star and American Legion. Camping, fishing and travelling were loves of his life as well as following his children, grandchildren and greats in sports.
Uncle Norris loved his God, country, family and life. He passed on in Lafayette, 11 March 2014 after a lengthy illness with alzheimers. Although it was so sad to see him deteriorate often he still had that same wonderful sense of humor that so endeared me to this lovely man.
RIP Uncle Norris !!
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