PLEASANT PLAINS - William Howard Kelso, 91, of Pleasant Plains, IL died Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at his residence. He was born October 14, 1919 in LaSalle, IL to Collette Mary (Scanlon) Kelso and Alexander Joseph Kelso.
Mr. Kelso is survived by his wife, Jeanne Steele Kelso, whom he married April 22, 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife of 37 years, Gloria Gae (Gerdes) Kelso; by his wife of 25 years, Rita Mae (Dempsey) Kelso; a son, Aaron Wade Kelso; a grandson; a brother, Robert Durkin Kelso; a sister in infancy; and a nephew.
He is also survived by 11 children, Gregory James Kelso, Kitty Ann Leonard, Mary Kim Kelso Leonard (husband, Patrick), Kris Patricia Schnapp, Kelly Marie Lord, James Robert Kelso, Gregory C. Kelso (wife, Lisa), Kelvin Kelso, Stephanie Ann Darnell, William Durkin Kelso (wife, Susan), and Patrick Howard Kelso; two step-children, Richard Rock Wood and Kelly Jean Wood; a brother, Doctor Alec J. Kelso; 21 grandchildren; four step grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; four step great grandchildren; two sisters-in-law; three brothers-in-law; two nieces; and a nephew.
In addition to his family, Mr. Kelso leaves behind dear friends, current and former employees, insurance professionals and business associates, all of whom Mr. Kelso never forgot helped him achieve his dreams and life-fulfilling accomplishments. To all, Mr. Kelso remains eternally grateful.
Mr. Kelso served four years with the US Navy during WW II. He later began and pioneered in the property and casualty insurance industry with his father, Alexander Joseph Kelso, and then with Kurt Hitke & Company.
He began his own insurance business insuring motorcycles nationwide as American Cycle Agency and specialty insurance risks through Special Insurance Services, Inc.. Mr. Kelso, through Special Insurance Services, Inc., acquired and later sold First Financial Insurance Company, creating then Springfield Fire & Casualty Company, achieving and maintaining A+ and A (Excellent) rating standards, respectively, within the insurance industry. He sold his insurance operations to his son, William Durkin Kelso, and his associates in 2009.
Mr. Kelso was a member of St. Augustine Parish in Ashland. He enjoyed playing golf and gaming during his frequent travels to Las Vegas.
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