Edward John Kerkemeyer, 79, of Bethalto, fortified with the sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church, was called by God to eternal rest on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 10:20 a.m.
He was born Nov. 19, 1934, the fifth of seven children of Edward Andrew and Ottilia Rose (Straubinger) Kerkemeyer. On June 21, 1958, he married Joan Arlene Leady at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Alton, and she survives.
He served in the Air Force from 1957 to 1961 as an airplane mechanic, receiving an Honorable Discharge. He worked at Olin Corp. from 1961 to 1999, retiring as a tool and die developer, where he was fondly remembered as “the milkman.” He was also a member of the International Association of Machinists.
Besides his wife, he leaves behind nine children, their spouses, and 30 grandchildren: Andrew and Mary (Wilson) Kerkemeyer of Bethalto, with children Tamara, Aaron, Lauren, Keith, Elise and Monica; Arlene and Jim Mathus of Godfrey, with children Marisa, Brian, Eric, David, and Connor; Bruce and Tracy (Ferrari) Kerkemeyer of Tyrone, Ga., with children Oleg, Alexei, and Anya; Sheila and Dan Kitzmann of St. Charles, Mo., with children Colleen, Rachel, and Kyle; Ramona and Greg Berry of Jerseyville, with children Adam, Emily, Grace, and Maria; Tonya Ballard of Brighton, with children Cecilia and Ava; Chris and Luciana (Zanardi) Kerkemeyer of Naperville, Ill., and their child Melissa; Susan and Gerard Fleming of St. Charles, Mo., with children Jack, Isaac, Blaise, Geena, and Tobias; Lance and Amber (Luck) Kerkemeyer of Cottage Hills, and their child Leon.
He is also survived by brothers Paul of Wentzville, Mo., Elmer of Collinsville, Raymond (Mary Jane) of Edwardsville, Frank (Ruth) of Naperville, Ill., sister-in-law Alice Kerkemeyer of Collinsville and brother-in-law Leland Jones of Granite City. A brother Leo, sister Rose Jones, and sisters-in-law Jerry and Margaret, preceded him in death.
In 2006, he joined the Knights of Columbus, and supported God and parish as a 4th degree knight. He served as a St. Vincent De Paul member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church. He also volunteered with his wife for AARP as a tax preparer for senior citizens.
His hobbies included gardening, woodworking, playing cards and games with the family, volunteering, and maintaining vehicles and mowers. He believed in the power of praying the rosary. He will be missed as a loving and strong role model for all of his family and friends.
Visitation will be held Friday, Oct. 24, at Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home in Bethalto from 4-8 p.m. Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Bethalto. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in Edwardsville. For years, Ed has requested Masses in lieu of flowers. Memorials may be made to the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
Online condolences and guestbook may be found at www.eliaskallalandschaaf.com.