James Richard Kelch age 62, passed away at 10:00 AM on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at State of the Heart Hospice Care Center in Greenville. Jim was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, on September 8, 1956. He was the son of the late Richard J. Kelch and Marjorie Miller Kelch.
Jim was a graduate of Versailles High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1979 from the Defiance College and a master’s Degree in educational leadership from Wright State University in 1990.
A teacher in Preble County, Mr. Kelch taught most of those years in 8th grade American History which he held a minor Degree. During his teaching career he planned and execute over 15 trips for his students to our nation’s Capital and Williamsburg, Virginia.
Mr. Kelch was honored with numerous listings in “Who’s Who of American Classroom Teacher”. He received the outstanding teacher of the year in 1984.
Jim served on numerous committees and Boards during his life. A member of the Darke County Board of Tourism for two terms.
Jim served as a former member of the Darke County Civic Theatre as its President for several years while directing several Productions. Jim also found a spot telling the tales of old Darke County through DCCA’s Ghost Walks. But Jim felt most comfortable at home, in Versailles and performing, Directing, and serving as a Board Member for Towne & Country Players. Jim was fortunate to have been cast in their production of the “Fantastics” and traveled with the cast to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.
Jim has also served on The Friends of Darke County Parks, often dressing as characters of our past in the living history activities in the log house; also serving on the Versailles Alumni Board and was also a founding member of the Versailles Area Historical Society and volunteered at the Museum. His last endeavor was to help plan the Versailles Bicentennial celebration.
Jim, as a descendent of the St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Congregation at Webster, proudly served as a Trustee to assure her preservation of the historic log church for new generations.
Jim was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church of Versailles. There he served on numerous committees including Council and was Minister of Music, serving as Choir Director for many years.
Jim married the love of his life, the former Karen Kirchenbauer of Van Wert County on August 18, 1979 and who survives. Other survivors include their two children and their spouses, Kathryn Elizabeth Kelch Vulgamore (Byron) of Carmel, Indiana and Nicholas A. Kelch, (Amber Francis) of Greenville. Also surviving are four Grandchildren, Victoria Benedetto, of Muncie, Indiana, Hannah and Eli Vulgamore of Carmel, Indiana, and Isabella Kelch of Greenville, Ohio. Sister and brother-in-law Laurie and David Bladen, and two nieces and a nephew. Jim was proceeded in death by his parents, sister, Marilyn Louise Kelch, Grandparents and a host of Aunts and Uncles.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, December 1, 2018, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Trinity Lutheran Church in Versailles with a Service of Remembrance to follow at 12:00 PM with Pastor Mick Althouser officiating. Interment will be at Greenlawn Cemetery on the family plot at the convenience of the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Versailles Area Museum, St. Peter’s Preservation, or Trinity of Versailles. Arrangements are under the direction of Bailey Zechar Funeral Home in Versailles. Condolences for the family may be expressed through www.zecharbailey.com