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Gene Edward Kelm  Vietnam


November 20, 1944 - August 17, 2011

Gene Edward Kelm, 66, of Brenham, husband of Lola Kelm, passed away August 17, 2011 in M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Funeral services are scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Friday, August 19, 2011 at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg, with Pastor Steve Cox officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends and relatives from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday evening at Memorial Oaks Chapel. 


Gene Kelm was born November 20, 1944 in Brenham to Edwin and Edna (Landua) Kelm. He was baptized January 21, 1945 by Rev. Paul Czerkus in St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg, and confirmed there on August 31, 1958 by Rev. R. Lynn Zimmermann. He attended the Harrisburg School, graduated from Brenham High School in 1963 and from Blinn Junior College in 1964. Gene was also a 1965 graduate of the Commonwealth School of Mortuary Science, and in 1978, obtained a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Houston. On September 18, 1966, he married Lola Hempel in St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg. He retired in March of 2004 from the petroleum industry, and went on to do contract work until September 2006, at which time he was diagnosed with cancer.

A true patriot, Gene entered the U.S. Army, serving his country with honor and distinction during the Vietnam war from 1970 to 1971. He loved his God, his family, and his country. During his military career in Vietnam, Gene was assigned to the U.S. Army Mortuary Division, involved in Graves Registration for all U.S. casualties. This duty touched Gene deeply. Upon his return to the United States, he served with the Honor Guard Burial Detail for soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam. Gene's patriotism ran deep, and his love for his country was exemplified by the loving care and honor he bestowed upon the fallen soldiers who returned from war to grieving families.

An avid outdoorsman, Gene served as a current director of Rocky Creek Wildlife Association. He also served on the council of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg, of which he, along with his family, was a long-standing member. He cherished the time spent with his "three girls" – his wife, daughter, and granddaughter. Other hobbies included woodworking and hunting. He was intensely interested in politics and history, and served as past chairman of the Washington Co. Tea Party. Just recently, Gene was featured in the "Lest They Be Forgotten" video presentation at Brenham High School, where he was able to tell his story and share his love of country with all who would listen. In this way, he was able to honor fellow soldiers and countrymen who served as he did, with honor and love of country.

Survivors include his wife and best friend of 44 years, Lola; daughter and son-in-law Hilee and Royce Draehn, his precious granddaughter, Madison, "Little Madi"; sister and brother-in-law Paulette and Berry Lee Malkey of Brenham; brother and sister-in-law Leslie and Barbara Kelm of Burton, and Glen and Penny Kelm of Burton; brother-in-law Loyd Hempel and wife Linda of Cuero; Curtis Hempel and wife Nancy of Georgetown; Franklin and Beverly Hempel of Naples, Florida, and Howard Hempel of Carrollton; sisters-in-law Edith Eichman of Victoria and Evelyn Varnado of Amite, La., as well as numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, sister-in-law, and three brothers-in-law.

Serving as pallbearers are Loyd Hempel, Curtis Hempel, Clarence Gerke, Charles Landua, and Don Hoppens. Honorary pallbearers are Waldo Nienstedt, Sonny Duerr, and Bill Kenisell.

Memorials may be directed to St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg.

Funeral arrangements for Gene Edward Kelm are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 W. Main, Brenham. (979)836-4564. To post a tribute to the family, visit

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