Kelly McMillen, 71, of Melcher-Dallas, Iowa passed away peacefully on September 22, 2023, after a courageous battle with cancer. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Melcher. Family will receive friends on Friday, September 29, 2023, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., with the Rosary to follow at 6:00 p.m. also held at the church. It is requested that you wear Iowa Hawkeye, Knoxville Panthers, M-D Saints, KC Royals, Miami Dolphins, or racing clothing to the visitation. Memorials may be made in Kelly's name to the Melcher-Dallas Fire Department or to his family.
"After I started chemo, I told Marilyn we should write my obituary. She said, “I’m not writing it!” so this is what I told her to write, through many tears:
I was born on January 2, 1952, in Oskaloosa, Iowa to Worth and W. Laverne (Williams) McMillen, the youngest of 5 children. I lived in Knoxville until November 13, 1971. In grade school, I was involved in Little League, 4-H, and Cub Scouts. In Jr. High, I played baseball, football, and basketball and ran track. In High School, I only played football and ran track because of the many jobs I had. I’m proud to say I held the record for the hurdles for many years.
I worked at an early age. I babysat my nieces and nephews, worked at the Maple Buffet, baled hay, did my dad’s rural Sunday paper route, and worked at Rowland’s gas station during the 11, 12, 13 cent a gallon gas wars. After high school, I worked at Rolscreen and Kayat in Indianola. In January 1972, my mother-in-law took me to stand in line for two hours in freezing weather to apply at John Deere DM works in Ankeny. My 30-year career began.
I graduated with the class of 1970 – Go Knoxville Panthers. On October 16, 1970, I met a pretty, sweet girl from Melcher at Pinkies. I offered her a piece of bubble gum. I later learned she thought I was dumb. I asked her out, and our first date was a Panthers’ basketball game. On December 17, 1970, we were a couple and on November 13, 1971, we were married. We made our home in Melcher while I worked at Deere.
I had several part-time jobs: painting with LD Schrader, lawn care with Perry Houston, refereeing and umpiring Little League, Jr. High, High School, and College ball. After retirement, I worked at Hy-Vee in Knoxville and Altoona and Darwin Wahls Grocery in Pleasantville. My last job was my favorite and that was transporting patients from the VA in Knoxville to different VA’s even out of state. After the VA closed, I wanted to go with the company and work from Des Moines – Marilyn said no more working! I did enjoy volunteering my time to assist with the church dinners.
On November 9, 1982, our daughter Fawn Joe’L was born. I was definitely excited for this miracle. Then we were blessed with another miracle on December 26, 1984, our son, Kade Linn was born. Our family was complete, or so I thought, then the grandkids came 20+ years later.
Although I’d always be a Panther fan, the M-D Saints became my favorite. We attended everything Fawn and Kade were in from preschool until they graduated. I coached Little League before our children were born. I worked the home track meets, judged the homecoming floats, and my favorite was running the clock at the football games for decades. I loved all sports. I played men’s slow pitch and bowled on 3 teams at one time, as well as golfed, competing in the Coal Miner’s tournament. My favorite sport to watch since I was 10 years old was the Knoxville Sprint Cars. I parked cars at the Sprint Car Museum.
My biggest accomplishments were Fawn and Kade, but then came the grandchildren. I leave behind to share our memories, our daughter, Fawn and her 3 children: Justin Louis (Jr.), Jazalinn Kate (Snicklefritz), and Jolyssa Mari'Lyn (Pickle); our son, Kade and his wife, Jenn and daughter, Brilynn Mae (Turkey); very special nephew and niece, Jim McMillen and Jody Kuyawa; 2 special friends, Dan and Larry Luscri; my Godchildren: Lorry, Corey John, Kathy Ann, and Alex; several nieces and nephews and many friends.
Those who left before me are my parents; my other Dad and Mom, Joe and Mary Luscri; 2 special sisters-in-law, Roberta McMillen and Jo McMillen; my 4 siblings; Marilyn’s sister and brother-in-law, Jeanette and Bill Crozier; 2 nieces, Judy Roach and Sue Carrington; 2 nephews, Kent Peterson and Paul Karpan; and my beloved dog, Velvet.
Please take care of Mom and Nana. Have a pineapple whip at the Iowa State Fair for me. It’s been a hell of a ride.”