Henry passed peacefully in his sleep and woke up in heaven in the arms of his beloved late wife, Thelma L. (Hilbig) Kellam (2012), whom he had known for 68 years.
Henry was born in Biscoe, NC to Henry and Francis (Black) Kellam Sr. His only brother, Leslie, passed away a year ago. He is survived by his children, Charlie, Beverly and Henry III; daughter in-law, Kumiko Tsukuda-Kellam; and, two grandchildren, Henry IV and Aya Kellam of Richmond, Va. as well as countless loving relatives and friends.
Henry was the greatest husband and father in the world from "The Greatest Generation" and was a true solider of the Lord. His great colorful wit, humor and humility were his trademark, and his mind was as sharp as a pin until the end. His last words were "I am fine as wine and I want to go home." Henry was a thousand percent devoted to his family first and secondly to his beloved Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church (HMPC) where he attended from their beginnings. Henry was a veteran of World War II, entering the U.S. Army on January 30, 1944 and serving until his discharge on May 14, 1946. He was originally assigned to the European Campaign previous to The Battle of the Bulge, but contracted pneumonia during boot camp at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD. Due to this delay, he was destined to meet his wife-to-be at a USO in Youngstown, Ohio. After recovering, he was re-assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater as a member of the 330th Engineer Regiment that completed The Great Ledo (Stilwell) Road from Burma to China. There he witnessed the DC-3s flying "˜The Hump', The Flying Tigers, and became friends with many of the famous Merrill's Marauders. Henry served honorably both in Burma and India, and upon discharge from the U.S. Army attended William & Mary on the GI Bill. After working in Norfolk and Burlington, he moved his family to Raleigh in 1955 and worked for Raleigh-Westinghouse for over 30 years. It is worth mentioning his grandfather, Charles L. Kellam whom he idolized and often said he was the finest person he ever knew. Charles started the Biscoe L.R. Kellam Company in 1901, which is now the finest metal family owned fabrication facility in NC. It was a blessing that this past summer, Henry was able to have a reunion with his best friend from the war, Preston Van-Dyke; The Richmond Times Dispatch covered the story. (Search Article: "World War II vets reunite after 67 years".)
A memorial service for both Henry and Thelma will be held at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church (4921 Six Forks Rd., Raleigh, NC) at 1:00 PM on Saturday, January 18 followed by a reception. A memorial service will be held the next day, January 19 at Biscoe Presbyterian Church at 1:00 PM followed by burial service at Biscoe Cemetery. Any gifts in his honor can be made to the Hudson Memorial Fund, 4921 Six Forks Road, 27609, 919-787-1086, http://hmpc.org/.
1:00 pm, Saturday, January 18, Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Raleigh
1:00 pm, Sunday, January 19, Biscoe Presbyterian Church