SUBLETTE - Robert “Buck” Kellen, 75, of Sublette passed away March 9, 2018 at OSF Saint Paul Medical Center in Mendota.
Funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Sublette. Burial will follow at Restland Cemetery in Mendota. Pallbearers will be Kyle and Kole Kellen, Brock, Caitlin and Dylan Ehlers, and Jim Boyle. Honorary pallbearers are Neal Vaessen, Gene Leffelman, Dennis Klein and Robert Jones. Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 12 at OLPH Church in Sublette and for one hour prior to services on March 13. Arrangements were handled by the Mihm-Jones Funeral Home in Amboy.
Buck was born July 4, 1942 to Gilbert “Gib” and Velma (Dinges) Kellen. He married his wife, Sharon on Sept. 21, 1985.
Survivors include his wife, Sharon; two step-sons, Brent and Brad (Mary) Ehlers; three step-grandchildren, Brock, Caitlin and Dylan Ehlers of Sublette; one brother, Kevin (Kathy) Kellen of Rhinelander, Wis.; one sister, Karen (Dina) Kellen of Denver, Colo.; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, John and William “Bill.”
Throughout his life, Buck was an active member of the Sublette community and he touched countless lives through his years of service. First, he 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, he 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, his main concern was serving the community. His 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 the Sublette Fire Department. Buck was a graduate of the Amboy High School Class of 1960. He was an avid sportsman. For decades, he was member of Shady Oaks Country Club of Sublette. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing with his brothers, nephews and grandchildren. He was a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Sublette, the Mendota’s Elks Lodge and even served as road commissioner for Sublette Township. As a member of the agricultural community, he worked for Sublette Farmer’s Elevator, Cropmate and F.S.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Sublette Fire Department and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Condolences may be sent online at www.thejonesfh.com.