SUBLETTE — Robert “Buck” Kellen, 75, of Sublette, passed away on the morning of Friday, March 9, 2018 at OSF St. Paul Medical Center in Mendota.
Buck was born July 4, 1942, the son of Gilbert “Gib” and Velma (Dinges) Kellen. Buck married his wife, Sharon, on Sept. 21, 1985.
Throughout his life, Buck was an active member of the Sublette community—he touched countless lives through his years of service. First, Buck served as Chief on the Sublette Fire Department from 1971 to 1999, 28 years of his 38-year career with the department. During his years of service, Buck helped modernize Sublette’s fire department—from converting an old milk truck into a water-hauling tanker in his early days to purchasing a modernized state-of-the-art fire engine, capable of pumping over 1,200 gallons per minute in his last year as Chief, Buck’s main concern was serving the community.
Buck’s legacy in the fire service continues today through his nephews, Kyle and Kole Kellen, niece, Janelle Stenzel (Kellen), step-daughter-in-law, Mary Ehlers (Joerger), and step-grandsons, Brock and Dylan Ehlers, all whom are current active members on Sublette’s Fire Department, contributing a combined total of 74 years of service and counting. To date, members of the Kellen family have contributed nearly 300 years of service on Sublette Fire Department.
He was a graduate of the Amboy High School Class of 1960. Buck was an avid sportsman. For decades, he was member of Shady Oaks Country Club of Sublette. Buck also enjoyed hunting and fishing with his brothers, nephews and grandchildren.
Buck was the member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Sublette, the Mendota’s Elks Club and even served as Road Commissioner for Sublette Township. Buck was also a member of the agricultural community working for Sublette Farmer’s Elevator, Cropmate and F.S.
Buck was preceded in death by his father, Gilbert “Gib,” his mother, Velma, and brothers, John and William “Bill,” all of Sublette.
Buck is survived by his wife, Sharon; two step-sons, Brent and Brad (Mary) Ehlers; three step-grandchildren, Brock, Caitlin and Dylan Ehlers of Sublette; his brother, Kevin (Kathy) Kellen, of Rhinelander, Wis., and his sister, Karen (Dina) Kellen, of Denver, Colo.; and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to Sublette Fire Department and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 12, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Sublette. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m., on Tuesday, March 13 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church with a visitation beginning one-hour prior. Burial will follow at Restland Cemetery in Mendota.
Pallbearers will be Kyle and Kole Kellen, Brock, Cailtin and Dylan Ehlers, and Jim Boyle. Honorary pallbearers are Neal Vaessen, Gene Leffelman, Dennis Klein and Robert Jones.
Arrangements by the Mihm-Jones Funeral Home in Amboy.
Condolences may be sent online at www.thejonesfh.com.