Deacon John Kellen Dies April 7
April 13, 2023
STERLING—John L. Kellen, 89, of Sterling, died Friday, April 7, 2023 at Rock River Hospice and Home in Sterling.
 
He was born on May 26, 1933 in Welcome, Minn., the son of Herbert and Elsie (Bruhn) Kellen. He was a United States Army Veteran, serving from 1953-1955. He married Sally Odean on Jan. 17, 1959 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, Iowa. He was a tool and die maker for General Electric, retiring in 1991 after 35 years. 
 
He was deeply rooted in his faith and was a member of St. Mary Church in Sterling where he served as a parish deacon for 24 years. He was ordained on May 14, 1994 and retired in 2018. 
 
He was a past Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus, a part of the Cursillo Movement, was very involved in the CRHP retreat ministry, and visited local nursing homes and hospitals during his time as a deacon. 
 
Deacon Kellen enjoyed fishing, going to grandson’s sporting events, and following Newman football. He was an avid Chicago White Sox fan and Chicago Bears fan.
 
Survivors include his wife, Sally, of 64 years; his daughter, Therese (Jeff) Gee of Sterling; his son, David Kellen of Chicago; three sisters, Joyce Dohlger of AZ, Margaret Brechon of Dixon, and Kathleen Lemke of Des Moines; four grandchildren, Andrew (Sarah) Gee, Adam (Taylor) Gee, Matt Kellen, and Ethan Kellen; and four great grandchildren, Hannah, Payton, Kendall, and Emma.
 
He was preceded in death by his parents and two grandsons, Joseph and Jacob Kellen.
 
Visitation was held April 12 at the McDonald Funeral Home in Sterling, 505 1st Avenue, with the Rosary recited at 3:30 P.M. Celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial was said by Father James R. Keenan April 13, 2023 at St. Mary Church in Sterling.  Burial with Military Honors followed at Calvary Cemetery in Sterling.
 
Memorials may be made in his memory to St. Mary Church in Sterling or to Newman Central Catholic High School in Sterling. 
 
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