Four Families Through Georgia:Information about Edward Barber O'Kelley, Jr.
Home Page |Surname List |Index of Individuals | |Sources
Edward Barber O'Kelley, Jr. (b. August 21, 1917, d. October 25, 1988)
|Ruby and Ed O'Kelley|
Edward Barber O'Kelley, Jr. (son of Edward Barber O'Kelley and Ida Bessie Blackwell)841 was born August 21, 1917 in Dunwoody, Georgia, USA841, and died October 25, 1988 in Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, USA842.He married Ruby Gertrude Nixon.
Notes for Edward Barber O'Kelley, Jr.:
Edward Barber, Jr., (21 August 1917 - 25 October 1988) married Ruby Gertrude Nixon of Gainesville, Florida on July 3, 1940. Ed graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army reserve. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.After graduation he worked for the U. S. Civil Service in Mobile, Alabama. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he was immediately called to active duty and assigned to the Army 77th Division. During World War II he fought on Guam, in the Philippines and on the island of Okinawa.At Okinawa he was seriously injured when shrapnel struck him in the back of the neck. He has many military decorations including the Purple Heart, multiple Bronze Stars and the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was called back to active duty during the Korean conflict and was assigned to Germany.Through his active duty and reserve participation, he retired from the Army Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel.
My father made a typescript copy of a newspaper report of the award of the DSC to Edward O'Kelley, Jr. The following is a copy of that typescript which is on the back of stationery of the Citizens Club of Murray Hill:
"Captain Edward B. O'Kelley, Jr., who directed
artillery fire for his unit for 30 hours in the
Okinawa campaign, and, although severely
wounded, refused to leave his post until
ordered, was recently presented with the
Distinguished Service Cross. The presentation
was made at Camp Blanding by Colonel Charles S.
Kilburn, camp commander.
"Captain O'Kelley, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. B.
O'Kelley of this city, is a graduate of Robert
E. Lee High School and of the University of
Florida. He returned to the states last
November, and later was given terminal leave
which expired a few days ago.He has accepted a
position with the State Board of Control in the
Architectural Department located in Gainesville.
"The Distinguished Service Cross, awarded Captain
O'Kelley by the command of General MacArthur, is
for extraordinary heroism in the Southwest
Pacific area, on I7 and 18 May 1945.
"During the bitter campaign which culminated in
the clearing of Japanese forces from Okinawa,
Ryuku Island, the citation reads, Captain
O'Kelley, a battery commander of the 902nd Field
Artillery Battalion, was serving with Company E,
307th Infantry Regiment, as forward artillery
observer in a predawn attack against a heavily
fortified enemy-held ridge in the Shuri area.
"With the company's heavy weapons all destroyed
with the exception of one machine gun and
ammunition nearly exhausted, Captain O'Kelley
realized that supporting artillery would be its
only means of defense. Although severely
wounded, he crawled to the summit of the ridge
50 yards in front of the most forward infantry
elements and stayed there as observer well past
noon of the second day of the fight, until
ordered to the rear by the Command Liaison
Officer, even though his wound became seriously
infected.He also left the safety of his slit
trench when a comrade was mortally wounded, and
gave aid to the dying man.
"Although enemy elements were but 1OO yards from
his observation post, Captain O'Kelley gave such
highly accurate fire orders from his observation
that two enemy machine guns were destroyed and
other hostile positions neutralized.
"Captain O'Kelley is now living in Gainesville.
His wife is the former Ruby Nixon of
Gainesville.Entering service at Fort Bragg, N.
C., in January, 1942, as second lieutenant, he
trained with the 77th "Statute of Liberty"
Division and served overseas with them in Guam,
Leyte and the Ryukus.Following the incident
which resulted in the DSC, he was hospitalized
at Guam, but returned to his unit in July and
took part in the occupation of Japan. In
addition to the DSC and Purple Heart he was
awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service
in the Leyte campaign."
Ed and Ruby moved to Gainesville, Florida, where he worked as an engineer for the Florida State Board of Control that had responsibilities for designing new buildings for state universities.Later, he and Art Campbell, Ruby's brother-in-law, formed an architecture-engineering firm. Subsequently, Ed went into professional civil engineering practice on his own in Gainesville.Ed and Ruby had no children.
More About Edward Barber O'Kelley, Jr.:
Burial: Unknown, Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, USA.843
Degree: Bachelor of Civil Engineering, U of FL.
Military service 1: 1941, Captain - Lt. Col U. S. Army Reserve.
Military service 2: WW II - AwardedPurple Heart.
Military service 3: WW II - Awarded Distinguished Serv. Cross.
Occupation: Professional Engineer.
More About Edward Barber O'Kelley, Jr. and Ruby Gertrude Nixon: