The Times photo by Betsy Reason
World War II veteran Howard Kenley Jr. of Noblesville (center) died in 2018 at age 99. Two of his children are Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley (left) and retired Sen. Luke Kenley(right).
The Times photo by Betsy Reason World War II veteran Howard Kenley Jr. of Noblesville (center) died in 2018 at age 99. Two of his children are Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley (left) and retired Sen. Luke Kenley(right).

While every birth and death is significant to us, The Times remembers some of those who we lost in 2018:

1. Howard A. Kenley Jr., 99, Noblesville, died Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018.
In 1941, Howard enlisted in the U.S. Army, later went to Officer Candidate School in the Army in El Paso, Texas, and served as a Lieutenant. In 1943, Howard transferred to the Air Corps and was trained as a navigator on a B-17 in San Antonio, Texas and then flew with the 15th Air Force out of Foggia, Italy, logging 35 missions in 1944 and 1945, all with the same crew he had trained with. Howard was awarded many combat medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, and accumulated 175 points at a time when 75 points was sufficient for a discharge. He was transferred back to the states and was awaiting reassignment to Japan in San Diego, Calif. when the war ended with Harry Truman dropping the bomb.
After the war, Howard returned to Noblesville with his wife, took over the family grocery business with his brother, Jack, and ran that business with Jack, his Dad, his Uncle Robert, and later with his sons Luke, Jim, and Tom for more than 50 years. Kenley's Market was the hometown grocer of Noblesville, ultimately employing thousands of Hamilton County natives and serving the people of Hamilton County. He was a member of many service clubs, served on the Noblesville City Council, raised eight children, including Sen. Luke Kenley and Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley, and was regarded in the community as a gentleman, a supporter of good causes, and a man whose word could always be trusted. He gave up golf at 95, saying that a 21 handicap was more than anyone should tolerate.

2. Edward Louis "Eddie" Mode, 90, died Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at Riverview Health in Noblesville. 
He entered the U.S. Navy at age 17 and served honorably in two wars. He served as a Navy Seabee attached to Marine Air Group 31, 1st Division aboard the USS Florence Nightingale in World War II. Eddie went to Okinawa where he received the Presidential Citation Award for services performed on that island. He also served aboard the USS Missouri as a fireman involved in firing one of the huge guns in the Korean War.
Eddie moved to Noblesville in 1996. That same year, he opened Logan Street Cafe, which later moved and became his signature restaurant called Eddie’s Corner Café. Eddie made many friends in Noblesville as a part of this restaurant adventure. His later life passion included traveling to and serving children and friends in the country of Nicaragua. In the past 20 years, he made over 50 trips to that country and supported many individuals. Eddie was a member of the VFW and the Navy club.

3. Joe Heaton Burgess, 98, Noblesville, died Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, at Riverwalk Village in Noblesville.
He was the official Hamilton County historian who always had the answer for you when you wanted to know anything about local history. He was a founding member and chairman of the 1976-established Hamilton County Cemetery Commission (which cares for neglected cemeteries established before 1850), of which he was President Emeritus this year. He also authored a book in the 1960s, “Hamilton County in the Civil War,” recognized as one of the best accounts of local soldiers in the war.  In 1995, he and the late Don Roberts were the only two to read the list of Ku Klux Klan members, whose signatures were discovered in an old trunk in Noblesville; the list was of Hamilton County men who, from 1923 to 1926, paid a $10 fee to become citizens of the Invisible Empire, entering through the portal of Klan No. 42, Realm of Indiana. Mr. Burgess proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a member of the Noblesville American Legion and the 40&8 Society. He worked as a title insurance examiner for Wainwright Abstract. Joe was a member of Noblesville First Friends Church, the Indiana Historical Society and the Hamilton County Historical Society.

4. Everett L. Latham, 93, Noblesville, died Monday, March 26, 2018 at Harbour Manor Care Center in Noblesville. 
Everett and his wife, Gerry, moved in Noblesville in 1951 and began his career in education as a teacher at Federal Hill School in Noblesville. He earned his Master of Arts degree from Butler University in school administration and became the principal at Second Ward and finally at Stony Creek Elementary. He was a very active member and leader in Noblesville Friends Church, Quaker Men, and the Noblesville Noon Kiwanis Club. Everett was a veteran of World War II, serving in Europe and earning two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and an Infantry Combat Badge. He was thrilled and grateful to have been able to travel to Washington, D.C. in 2015 on an Honor Flight.

5. Rick Benick, 66, Noblesville, died on Thursday, June 14, 2018, at home.
Benick was one of the best guitarists in the business. He played for Roadmaster, Mitch Ryder, Pure Funk, The Cherry People, Henry Lee Summer and The Alligator Brothers.
Anybody who grew up in the 1970s, ‘80s or ‘90s and who followed these bands remember him well.
Some knew him as “Leroy” or “Golden Rick Wonder.” Throughout his career, Benick has had many names and has met and touched the lives of many people. Roadmaster opened for Blue Oyster Cult, Pat Travers, Rush, ZZ Top, Todd Rundgren and Cheap Trick. He had an opportunity to play with Mitch Ryder and, in 1983, they performed on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.”

6. Connie Murello-Todd, 70, Noblesville, died Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018.
Murello-Todd, better known as "Miss Connie," adored all children, especially those she molded into young actors at The Belfry Theatre. She directed 22 shows at The Belfry Theatre from 2002 until 2017, including 14 Belfry Theatre Apprentice Players summer youth productions.
Her first show was "Lil Abner," during the 2001-02 season. She alternated every summer, for two different age groups of actors, ages 5-13 and ages 13-20.
She chose the 2018 summer show, Disney’s “Camp Rock: The Musical,” more than a year ago and expected to direct it for ages 13-20.
However, her health prevented her from directing the show, which director James H. Williams dedicated to her, during the eight-show run, July 27-Aug. 5, 2018.

7. Robert Randolph “Bob” Crook, 88, Noblesville, died Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, at his home.
Bob moved with his family to Noblesville in 1942. He graduated from Noblesville High School in 1947. For many years, he and his wife operated several restaurant and catering businesses, most notably the Forest Park Inn, from 1953 to 1966.
Diagnosed with severe eye problems at the age of 5, Bob gradually lost all his eyesight. In 1965, he was one of 12 blind candidates selected for a new government program to attend Cincinnati Blind School for extensive training in information technology, and in 1967 began working as a data systems analyst with Indiana Bell, later Ameritech.  He retired from Ameritech in 1987 after 20 years of service.
Bob was an active member of Noblesville First Christian Church for more than 50 years, where he served as elder and sang in the choir. He also sang in the Bell Telephone Chorus and the Pride of Indy barbershop chorus. He played his tenor banjo with the Indy Strummers band. He was active in Boy Scouts as a young man and later served as an assistant scoutmaster. He was a charter member of the Noblesville Toastmasters, as member of Noblesville Kiwanis, Noblesville Horticulture Society, Hamilton County Historical Society, and Central Indiana Vintage Vehicles. He penned “The Wheels Go Round and Round” a biographical collection of his experiences with all things motorized.

8. Jack A. Marks, 88, Noblesville, died on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 at his home.
The retired Indiana State Trooper gave The Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr a sightseeing tour, including a ride back to his farm in Noblesville to meet Marks’ family in September 1964. Marks, at the time, was an 11-year veteran of the Indiana State Police and The Beatles’ assigned security officer during their Indianapolis visit. He attended Butler University and proudly served his country in the U.S. Air Force National Guard. He retired from the Indiana State Police after 25 years as Lt. Commander of Pendleton Post. After retirement, Jack worked for Allied Fidelity as a manager for the bondsmen, then he worked in the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office as an investigator. He was a long-time member of First Christian Church of Noblesville, Hamilton County Masonic Lodge No. 533 and Noblesville Lodge No. 57 F&AM. He also owned Standard Bred Race Horses, raising the best trotter in the State in 1971.

9. Steven Richard McKee, 60, Noblesville, died Thursday, June 21, 2018, at St. Vincent Fishers Hospital.  
Steve was a 1975 graduate of Noblesville High School and attended Purdue University.  For over 35 years, he was former owner/operator of Noblesville Soft Water, then was a real estate agent for Rasmussen Century 21. He was a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church and Miller Backers Booster Club.  He was past president of Noblesville Fire Department Merit Commission Board, Fifty Club of Hamilton County, and Indiana Water Quality Association.  He also served as treasurer and is a past Exalted Ruler of Noblesville Elks Lodge.

10. Scarlett M. Minton, 78, of Noblesville, died on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 at Riverview Health in Noblesville.
Scarlett was a 1958 graduate of Lewisville High School and attended Indiana Central College for one year, where she played on the women’s basketball team.
Scarlett worked at H & R Block and for C. Dana Meyer Optometry in Noblesville. She was a wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many and was a member of First Presbyterian Church where she served as an elder and Sunday School superintendent.

Other deaths that touched Hamilton County:

Kevyn Miller, 62, Thorntown, was a lifelong resident of Boone County, but he was the longtime livestock manager at Conner Prairie in Fishers. 
He died unexpectedly on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at Community East Hospital in Indianapolis. He studied animal science at Purdue University, raised cattle his entire life, was a Boone County 4-H beef project leader and a longtime hoof trimmer who had a style of his own, trimming the length of each cattle hoof with his hammer and chisel. Miller co-led Conner Prairie’s youth ag captains on field trips to colleges that changed the course of some of their lives. He emceed, in his entertaining way, the Youth Sheep to Shawl Contest at the Indiana State Fair. He was elected, by Conner Prairie youth, as favorite Smurf, in other words, their favorite third-person adult interpreter who wears Conner Prairie’s traditional blue shirt. He mentored countless youth of all experience levels over the years. He was past president of the Indiana Simmental Association.

Kevin Dale Thompkins was former managing editor for The Times newspaper. 
Thompkins, 55, Lebanon, died unexpectedly Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.
He had a passion for journalism, having spent most of his adult life writing for newspapers. His passion for journalism began in high school with the student-run publication, The Pennant, and continued through his adult life, working for a number of Indiana publications, including the Lebanon Reporter and the Hendricks County Flyer. He served as public information spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Health for 10 years. He was managing editor for The Times from spring 2016 to March 2018.

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