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John R. "Johnny" Ketelsen
September 29, 1921–August 17, 2009

John R. "Johnny" Ketelsen, 87, formerly of Marion passed away Monday, August 17, 2009. Services will be Saturday, August 22, 2009, 11:00 a.m. at Murdoch Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Marion. The family will greet friends Friday, August 21, 2009, from 4–8 p.m. at the funeral home, with a Masonic Service commencing Friday at 3:45 p.m. Private burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Monticello.
Survivors include five children, Kathleen (James) Ernst of Monona, Iowa, Randall (Maureen) Ketelsen of Arvada, Colorado, Lynn (Mary) Ketelsen of Owatonna, Minnesota, Gary (Debbie) Ketelsen of Springville, Iowa, and Von Ketelsen of Fort Dodge, Iowa; his grandchildren, John (Heidi) and Amy Ernst, Mindy (Jeffery) Porter, Erica Ketelsen, Matthew, Sarah and LeAnn Ketelsen and Jeremy (Stephanie), Holly and Trisha Ketelsen; three great-grandchildren, Joseph and Carlie Ernst, and Makena Porter, and one brother Donald (Marilyn) Ketelsen.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Marjorie, and a son, John "Jack�" Ketelsen; a brother, Richard; and a sister, Ruth Ann Glenn.
John was born September 29, 1921, the son of John and Fredda (Lang) Ketelsen, in Center Junction, Iowa. He married Marjorie Towers on March 5, 1944, in Central City, Iowa.
John was an active member of the Masonic community. He was initiated into the Masonic Lodge #619 Onslow, Iowa, in 1946 and was a 32nd Degree Mason. John became a member of El Kahir Shrine Temple in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1950 and served as Potentate of El Kahir Shrine in 1987. John was honored as a 50 year member in 2000.
John and his wife, Marjorie, founded Ketelsen RV in 1962, in Marion where he and his family grew the dealership to national acclaim. In 2000, John was inducted into the prestigious RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana as a pioneering RV dealer.
John was a member of the western dance band "The Tom Owens Cowboys" for many years and continued the band under his own name, the "Johnny Ketelsen Band" upon Tom Owens' death in 1955. The band broadcast daily on WMT radio for over twenty years, holding a national broadcasting record of 6,500 live radio shows, the most of any musical group in history. A TV pioneer, Johnny's band performed regularly on WMT-TV and KCRG-TV. John was inducted into the Nebraska Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Submitted by: Janet A. Brandt
Source: Midland Times, Wyoming, Iowa, 21 August 2009


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