Cover photo for Lila Mae Kelley's Obituary
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1939 Lila Mae Kelley 2024

Lila Mae Kelley

February 20, 1939 — April 25, 2024

Jacksonville

Lila was born on February 20, 1939 to Paul and LaVerne (Mueller) Russmann at Walnut, Iowa. She was baptized and confirmed at the Peace Evangelical and Reformed Lutheran Church in Walnut.  She graduated from Walnut High School in 1957 and worked for a year at Farm Service Co-op in Harlan. 

On September 7, 1958, Lila was married to Perry Kelley of Harlan and four children were born to this union: Connie, Perry Jr., Jerry, and Larry.  Perry and Lila ‘s first home was a furnished upstairs apartment in Harlan while they were remodeling their country schoolhouse on his father’s farm.  That was their home until highway 44 was reconstructed in 1987 when the state relocated them to the acreage by Jacksonville where they purchased more acres to add to their farming.

As a stay-at-home mom she was kept busy doing chores for the various animals and poultry they raised, helping with the field work, growing a big garden for canning and freezing, to keep food on the table. While Perry was working in the town, Lila farrowed pigs and sold them at the Avoca sale barn.  Perry would come home by noon to help load them and take them to the sale barn.  She would go to the sale, collect the checks and take it to the bank. Some of the men didn’t like it when her pigs brought more than theirs. 

Many people will remember the ducks and geese she raised and dressed for their holiday meals.  She used the feathers and down and made pillows as gifts for family, friends and also to sell. For over 30 years she helped at the Mickels restaurant at catering jobs.

In earlier years, Lila was on the state 6 on 6 girls basketball team for Walnut Highschool and was involved in 4-H. She enjoyed the Saturday Night Couples Pinochle Card Club and the Tuesday Ladies Chatter Club. After joining the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, she was a member of the ladies circle. Lila lived a simple life but worked so hard at it.

On Thursday, April 25, 2024, Lila passed away peacefully at the Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn, attaining the age of 85 years, 2 months, and 5 days. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and LaVerne Russmann; and her sister, Marilyn and her husband Gene Olsen. Lila is survived by her loving husband, Perry Kelley Sr. of Walnut; her children: Connie (Kevin) Paulsen of Anita, Perry Jr. (Mary Ellen) Kelley of Harlan, Jerry (Karen) Kelley of Harlan, and Larry Kelley of Council Bluffs; 5 grandchildren; 2 step-grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; 2 step-great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, Harold and his wife Gretchen Kelley of Newton; special friends: Marlene Hipnar, Jeanie Voege, and Marilyn Krohn; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

Visitation with Family Greeting Friends will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at the C G Therkildsen Activity Center in Harlan. Memorials may be directed to the family in honor of Lila. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lila Mae Kelley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation with Family Greeting Friends

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

C G Therkildsen Activity Center

706 Victoria St, Harlan, IA 51537

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Prayer Service

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

6:30 - 6:45 pm (Central time)

C G Therkildsen Activity Center

706 Victoria St, Harlan, IA 51537

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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