Orland G. “Bud” Kelch, 94, of Urbana, Ohio passed away Tuesday, August 9 at Springfield Regional Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family.
Bud was born June 5, 1922 in Addyston, Ohio. Orphaned as a child during the depression, he lived with his two brothers in The Children’s Home of Cincinnati before going to live with his Uncle Bill and Aunt Essie Gribble in Urbana. He was a 1942 graduate of Urbana High School, where he met his future wife Marjorie (Botkin).
Bud was a World War II Veteran, where he served in the Southwest Pacific Theater. He was a chief radio operator specializing in Morse code. Bud served in the U.S. Army Air Forces Fifth Air Force and was stationed in Santa Cruz, Philippines, with members of the 574th Signal Aircraft. His platoon was nicknamed the “Jungle Rats.” He was honored with the American Liberation Medal, three combat medals and the Good Conduct Medal for his service.
Returning to Urbana after the war, Bud married Marge on February 17, 1946 and started a family. He worked in the automotive parts business at Howard Supply, then, in 1968, he and his wife Marge opened OK Automotive Supply on North Main Street, which they operated for more than 20 years until they sold the business.
Bud enjoyed traveling with his family, especially to Sebring, Florida and the Florida Keys. He was an avid photographer and spent his days in Florida photographing water birds. They traveled every year for 20-plus years to the annual reunion of the “Jungle Rats” platoon.
In addition to owning and operating his own business, Bud was extremely active in Urbana. He was a member of the Urbana City Council and Harmony Lodge #8 of the Free & Accepted Masons of Urbana. Bud was very active in the Shriner’s and also volunteered as a Marshall at The Memorial Golf Tournament at Muirfield Village for 30 years and was a fixture at the ninth hole.
Bud and his wife, Marge, were very active at Urbana Country Club, where they were ardent golfers. He held several positions on the board and on committees at the country club. He was one of the charter members of the Veterans’ of Foreign Wars/Spriggs-Wing Post 5451 in Urbana. Most recently, he donated the flag poles and the distinctive sign for their new building.
Bud had a special place in his heart for people with disabilities and volunteered for Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Champaign County Residential Services. For many years, he organized an annual fishing trip on Lake Erie and fish fry for their clients.
Bud was a passionate fisherman and enjoying fishing for walleye and perch on Lake Erie, for bass in Florida’s inland lakes and especially for yellowtail snapper in the Florida Keys.
His greatest joy was spent in sharing time with his family. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Marjorie (Botkin), of Urbana and his three sons: David (Maggie) of Grafton, OH; Kyle (Nancy) of Urbana, and Jeffrey (Anna) of Barrington, IL. He especially treasured the time he spent with his seven grandchildren: Krista (JD) Davenport of San Antonio, TX; Katie of Stephenville, TX; Jessica (Rob) Pardee and Cody (Mary) of Grafton, OH; and Conor, Quinn and Colleen of Barrington, IL.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Grace (Moreland) Kelch, and his brothers Donald and Kenneth.
Family will receive friends from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Monday, August 15 at the Walter & Stowe Funeral Home, 642 Main St., Urbana. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, August 16 at 10 a.m. at the funeral home. Services will be officiated by the Reverend Wayne Botkin of the Centerville United Methodist Church. A military service will follow in Oakdale Cemetery, Urbana.
Memorial contributions are respectfully requested to VFW/Spriggs-Wing Post 5451, 220 East Court St. Urbana, Ohio 43078
Memories may be shared online by visiting www.walterfunerals.com.