The Golden Roll

| September 2005

Kenneth William Kelley, 86, passed away May 5, 2005. He was born on May 16, 1918, in Pawnee, Okla. He was the youngest of 11 children. Many people referred to him simply as "KK." He married Nellie Minerva Ellington on Nov. 26, 1941. She preceded him in death on Dec. 8, 1999.

At the end of 8th grade he came to Pawnee to go to high school and graduated with the class of 1936.

His father and brother opened the Kelley Equipment Store selling John Deere equipment in 1937, and Kenneth was the mechanic. He was known as the best hay baler mechanic in the country, and was extremely knowledgeable in the repair of antique equipment.

He was a member of the Osage County Cattlemen's Assn. and president of the Pawnee County Cattlemen's Assn. from 1966-1968. He was president of the Pawnee Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Pawnee County Democratic Chairman.

In 1969 he bought his first 45 HP Case steam engine to restore. He had attended the Oklahoma Steam Engine Assn. gathering in Waukomis, Okla., which had begun in 1965. He talked with the people in the association and contacted the City of Pawnee to obtain a site to have the show. In 1973 the show was moved to Pawnee, where it has become one of the best in the United States.

At one time he owned the full line of Case steam engines, restoring each of them. He also had a narrow gauge steam train in his back yard, and all of his grandchildren played on it as they grew. This was later taken to the steam park, a railroad track was built and the steam train operated during the show. He also liked buying antique cars. His latest project was a 1925 Model T truck, which he purchased this spring, and was in the process of restoring.


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