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Gerald (Gene) Kellen

Gerald (Gene) Kellen

Gerald (Gene) Kellen, born March 23, 1931, in Madison, MN, was the oldest child of Catherine and Camillus Kellen. He attended school and was raised in Morris, MN. Gene walked many miles to school up hill, both ways, in the snow.

Gene joined the Army and served from 1952-1954. He lived in Windom, MN and worked for Caldwell Packing for 30 years. Gene moved to San Angelo, TX in 1986. He worked for Handy Packing and Evans Meat Company as the kill-floor supervisor.

Gene was united in marriage to Rita Poncin in 1989. They attended many volleyball, basketball, football games, and track meets for San Angelo Central High. He was also a fan of the San Angelo Colts, Dallas Cowboys, UT Longhorns, and the Baylor Bears.

Gene passed away on March 10, 2014 at the age of 82. A devoted Catholic, he is survived by his wife of almost 25 years, Rita Kellen. He had 9 children: Lavay Cairl of St. Paul, MN; Jean Ritzschke and husband Bob of Morris, MN; Robin Sokolofsky and husband Terry of Dayton, MN; Tom Kellen of Ringsted, IA; Shari Thompson and husband Tom of Clayton, WI; Connie Brandt and husband Joe of Lino Lakes, MN; Paul Poncin and wife Tracy of Cottage Grove, MN; Rebecca Vernon and husband Bill of Moody, TX; and Bethann Rakowitz and husband David of Cibolo, TX.

He had 12 grandchildren: Tommy, Lisa, Stacie, Jessi, Steffany, Jenny, Hannah, Kellen, Madeline, Derek, Ace, and Sarah. Gene also had 8 great-grandchildren: Jordan, Tayden, Sayler, Josiah, Daviannah, Karis, Wyatt, and Layla.

He also has 2 brothers: Jerome of Golden Valley, MN, and Wes with wife Phyllis of Winter Haven, FL; and a sister, Betty Johnson of Winter Haven, FL; 2 brothers-in-law, Ron Bresnahan and wife Monica of St. Peter, MN, and Bob Bresnaham and wife Doreen of Edina, MN. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, May; 2 sisters, Yvonne and Marlys; a son-in-law, Steve Cairl; a sister-in-law, Ramona Kellen; a brother-in-law, Ken Johnson; 2 grandchildren, Nikki Mangel and Brian Thompson.

Gene started working at Sunset Mall in 1994 as the beloved Santa. He has been playing Santa for as long as his family can remember. He also helped out with Make-A-Wish Foundation. Rita and Gene were chairpersons for the service line at the Holy Angels Church festival. Gene also served as an usher.

He had many special friends that he considered family: Pat and Bud Evans; Kim and Jim Jones, and their children, Tyler and Kendall; Kyra and Willie Neslege and their children, Trey and Karygan; Mike and Sandy Cox; Brit and Michelle Mynatt and their children, Ivie, Will, and Emme; Derek Cox and his daughter, McCoy; and "adopted" daughters, Debbie Redman and Kari Kelm.

The family would like to thank the caring staff at Community Hospital.

Memorial contributions may be made to Make-A-Wish, Meals for the Elderly, or charities of your choice.

Visitation will be from 5:00-8:00 PM Friday March 14, 2014, at Johnson's Funeral Home with the rosary to begin at 7:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 AM Saturday March 15, 2014, at Holy Angels Catholic Church with Father Charles Greenwell.

This world is a better place for your having been hereWe love you, Your Wife and Children.

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