Ivan Richard Keesee, Boatswain Mate 1st Class, U.S. Navy Hosted by RootsWeb, 
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"No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- Calvin Coolidge

Ivan Richard Keesee

Boatswain Mate 1st Class, U.S. Navy.

The Western Star, June 20, 1947.

Ivan R. Keesee Dies In Veterans Hospital

Injury Received While on Duty on Ship Proves Fatal

Ivan R, Keesee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Keesee of Coldwater, passed away Tuesday morning, June 17, in the Veterans Hospital in Wichita, the result of injuries received while on sea duty in the Atlantic during World War II.

Funeral services were conducted Thursday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock from the Presbyterian church in this city by the pastor, Dr. S. A. Fulton, who brought a comforting message.

A quartet composed of Mrs. Frank Webber, Mrs. Helen Currier, Mrs. Melvin Taylor and Mrs. J. P. Scholle sang "Some Time We'll Understand" and "Beautiful Garden of Prayer."

The pallbearers were six ex-servicemen and schoolmates of Ivan: J. P. Scholle, Stanley McIntyre, Lyle Cummings, Robert Gilchrist, James Thompson and Delmar Huck, with the Coldwater Gold Star fathers as honorary pallbearers: Claude Sims, Harry White, Roy Oller, Harvey Thompson, Bert Griffith, Harry Hough, Howard Burnette and Reuben Hecht. Burial was in Crown Hill cemetery.


Ivan Richard Keesee, son of Robert and Calla Keesee, was born in Coldwater, Kans., April 21, 1921, and departed this life June 17, 1947, in the Veterans Hospital in Wichita, Kans., at the age of 24 years, 1 month and 27 days.

He grew to young manhood in Coldwater, graduating from Coldwater high school with the class of 1940. He attended Kansas University two years and enlisted in the United States Navy, taking his boot training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.

When through training, volunteers were asked for to man a ship. Ivan volunteered and became captain of the gun crew, sailing from Newport News, Va., September 7, 1942. For nine months his parents did not hear from him. He came home on a short leave and told his parents of having been in a hospital in Calcutta, India, suffering from malaria and a back injury.

He later made several secret missions and was returned to California where he was stationed for several months. While there he was united in marriage with Miss Lila May Wimp of Argonia, Kans., in the naval chapel at Ojai, Calif. on January 1, 1946.

About May 1st of that year he was shipped out to participate in the Bikini Atomic Bomb Test which was held in the Pacific Islands. While on duty there he was taken ill and was brought back to the States on a hospital ship and entered the Corona, Calif. Naval Hospital where last November he underwent a serious back operation and was placed in a cast, which he continued to wear.

Ivan was discharged from the hospital April 1,. 1947, and came home on a leave. He had been here only a short time when he took sick. He was taken to the Veterans Hospital where he remained until his death.

He leaves to mourn their loss his wife, father, mother, four sisters; Mrs. Ruby Hyder, Red Top, Mo., Opel, Verna and Dorothy Mae of the home; two brothers; Melvin Keesee of Oakland Beach, Rhode Island, and Carl Keesee of Coldwater, besides a host of other relatives and friends.

Ivan was one of Coldwater's finest young men. He was a good athlete, made a good record in all of his studies and was ever willing to take his share of responsibility, whether on the football field or in the defense of his country. The sorrowing relatives have the sincere sympathy of the entire community.

The Western Star , April 18, 1947.


Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Keesee, arrived in Coldwater last Saturday and plan to be here about two months visiting with Ivan's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robt. Keesee, and other relatives. Ivan, who has been in the Navy Hospital at Corona, Calif., for a number of months following several operations, is still in a cast due to a serious back injury.

He was recently given a discharge from the Navy with a 100% disability. The injury was sustained while he was a captain of a gun crew on duty in the Atlantic. Last Sunday Mr. and Mrs. Keesee visited at Trgonia, Kansas, with Mrs. Keesee's parents.

The Western Star, September 20, 1946.
Will Need To Undergo Two Serious Operations.

Boatswain Mate First Class Ivan Keesee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robt. Keesee of Coldwater was brought back to the States in a cast about three weeks ago on a hospital ship and is in the Navy Hospital at Corona, Calif. His wife left Wichita last week to be with him. He took part in the first atomic bomb test in the Pacific but took sick five days before the second tests were made.

Ivan suffered a severe back injury during the war while captain of a gun crew in the Atlantic in the battle against the German submarines and he now has T. B. of the backbone, it is thought. He was a student at Kansas University before enlisting in the Navy in April,, 1942. He is a member of the regular Navy. He has many friends here who wish for him a speedy recovery. He expects to be operated on soon. It is thought that two operations will be necessary and that he will then have to remain in a hospital 18 months.

Gravestone for Ivan Richard Keesee, BM1c, U.S. Navy,

Crown Hill Cemetery, Comanche County, Kansas.

Photo by Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.
APRIL 21, 1921 - JUNE 17, 1947

Gravestone for Ivan Richard Keesee, BM1c, U.S. Navy,
Crown Hill Cemetery, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for transcribing and contributing the above news articles!

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