Pontiac, IL Private Plane Crash, Jan 1959


Pontiac, Ill. (AP) -- All six members of an Indiana family were killed Thursday in the crash of the single engine plane in which they were returning from a California vacation. They were about 200 miles from their home in LaPorte.
Those who perished in the Cessna 190 after it plunged into a farm field about seven miles west of Pontiac were WILLIAM O. KELLEMS, 34, a plastering contractor who was piloting the craft; his wife, MARY LOUISE, 28, and their four children, JUNE PENNY, 10; SHERRY ANN, 8; WILLIAM, JR., 7; and GAIL, 5.
The bodies of MRS. KELLEMS, JUNE PENNY and SHERRY ANN were thrown some distance from the plane. Those of KELLEMS and the other two children were found in the debris.
Two farmers, Carl Kalkwarf, 62, and his son, Carl, 35, were unloading hay in a field adjoining that in which the plane crashed. They said the sky was heavily overcast with a light snow when they heard a plane motor sputter, pick up, then sputter again. Then they saw the plane, almost nose down, break through the low overcast and plummet into the ground.
Neither a fire nor an explosion followed the crash.
Coroner Vernon Von Qualen said papers found on KELLEMS indicated the family spent Wednesday night in an El Paso, Texas, motel en route from San Clemente, Calif., where they had vacationed.
The Civil Aeronautics Authority sought the cause of the crash.
The bodies were sent today to LaPorte.

The Vidette Messenger Valparaiso Indiana 1959-01-02