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Kelley, Robert F. 1919-1939


Posted By: Linda Ziemann, volunteer (email)
Date: 9/20/2011 at 20:03:47

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
August 1, 1939

Neck Is BrokenWhile Diving at Swimming Pool With Comrades

Robert Kelley, 19, son of Mrs. J. E. Kelley, 515 First Street SW, was killed Saturday afternoon when he broke his neck in a dive from a ten foot board at the Municipal Park swimming pool.

Kelley with a number of his companions spent the afternoon at the pool and was among a number practicing for exhibition dives to be given July 31 at a county picnic and a swimming tournament for Northwestern Iowa at the park, August 6. Remarking to his comrades as the afternoon hours were waning he would take one more shot at the two and half turn flip, he plunged into the water said to be sixteen feet deep at that point.

Noticing Kelley did not come up after his plunge, Dave McCuckey and Kenneth Hoffman, life guards, and Keith Bartels, his swimming companion, went to the rescue. Kenneth Hoffman located what proved to be the inanimate form of the youth and dragged the body to the surface.

Kelley was dead when pulled from the water and attempts to resuscitate him proved futile.

Three physicians from the LeMars Clinic responded to a call. Cause of death was attributed to a broken neck.

Apparently in attempting to make the turn in the intricate dive his head jerked back, causing the fracture in the neck.

Kelley was an expert swimmer and admired by his comrades for his feats in swimming and diving.

Robert Francis Kelley was born in LeMars September 17, 1919. His father, Jas. E. Kelley, was a prominent businessman in LeMars and was Postmaster ten years. His mother was deputy clerk of the courts in Plymouth County for several years.

Robert Kelley was afforded all the advantages of a good home and educational facilities and had the makings of a fine citizen. He was graduated from LeMars high school in 1937 and then attended Columbia, now Loras college, in Dubuque. He attended Iowa University this year and was home on vacation when fate ended his life.

He is survived by his mother, Mrs. J. E. Kelley; his brother, Attorney J. P. Kelley, of LeMars; his sister, Mrs. Walter C. Lentz, of Fort Dodge, Iowa; his grandmother, Mrs. Ella Pierce, of LeMars; and many relatives in Plymouth County and Illinois.

The funeral will be held this Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock in St. James church, Rev. L. J. Cooper, the pastor officiating. Twelve associates and playmates of the dead youth will consign his remains to their earthly resting place: Keith Bartels, Ed DeWitt, Raymond Holton, Thos. Lenihan, James Wernli, Nick Coad, Tony Bamberg, James Long, Will Knoop, James Bowers, Will Arendt, Vernon Killeas.

Interment will be made in St. James cemetery under the direction of the Wiltgen funeral home.


Plymouth Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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