I, Sydne Lou Kelley, met my sweetheart, Dowell Homer Kelley, born November 4, 1938, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Dowell Hanes and Hazel Ruth (Sowders) Kelley, on a beautiful evening at a street fair booth in Collinsville, Illinois. We had been introduced by George and Judy Hoelscher, Director and Co-Director of the Collinsville Chapter of Sweet Adelines, in which I sang, when Dowell, a barbershopper for over 50 years, joined George’s quartet. We ate dinner and went for a long walk after the booth closed and decided to meet again. We did a lot of talking on the phone and had dates when we had time. He proposed in September, and we were married on December 6, 1981, at the First Christian Church in Sandoval, Illinois. We had decided two things -- God would always be a part of our marriage and we would always be sweethearts. God held us together for thirty-nine years and “we’re working on forty” we would say.
Dowell started serving our country when he joined the ROTC program as a high school student in 1956. A few years later, while in Logan Chiropractic College, he was called to serve during the Vietnam war. When I met him, he was still in the Missouri Guard.
One year after we married, we decided to go into the trucking business. We traveled the country enjoying the scenery, having wonderful conversations, and unknowingly almost completing our lifetime of vacations. After three years we came home, and soon after, Dowell started nursing school at Kaskaskia College. He later finished four years of school, number one in his class, at an affiliate hospital of the Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, in Orlando, Florida, in May of 1990. His mother joined us for the ceremony. His first job was as a burn unit and flight nurse in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Dowell, who joined his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at SLU Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, was preceded in death by his parents, an infant brother, and his younger brother Jerrell Arthur Kelley. He was first married to Bertha Kay Mescher with whom was born Kathryn Christine who is married to John Wallen. The oldest child, Steven, is married to Kirsten and they have three young girls -- Iris May, Ayda Rose, and Raelynn Kay. Their daughter, Hannah is married to Austin Baker, and they have a son, Remington Anthony Steele, and lastly Gracen, and her very good friend, Jacob Conyers. Jerry’s oldest son, Jason was married to Lisa and they had Clara and Elizabeth. His son Sean and wife Monica have Jack, Ava, Emma, and lastly, Brandon, Jerry’s youngest son, whose daughter is Angela. Nancy is married to Alex Shepard. They have twin girls, Freya and Brynn.
Day Macz Funeral Home in Sandoval is privileged to be assisting the family of Dowell Kelley with arrangements. A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 7, 2021, at the Day Macz Funeral Home in Sandoval with Lead Minister Phil Martin officiating, accompanied by Children’s Minister, Jesse Brinkley. Friends are welcome to a visitation time from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service Wednesday at the funeral home in Sandoval. Interment will follow at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Centralia. Memorial contributions may go to the family to help with expenses. Online condolences and memories of Dowell may be shared with the family by visiting www.maczfuneralhomes.com and/or on the funeral home’s Facebook page.
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