Dr. Elmer L. Kelso, a retired anesthesiologist, died on January 9 in Clifton, Texas.
He was born on July 12, 1932, on a small farm in Northeast Missouri, the fourth son of Leslie Enoch and Olive Arbuckle Kelso. He had a wonderful childhood playing with hand-me-down toys under a large maple tree and romping with his older brothers, who lovingly included him in their games.
He started school in a one-room schoolhouse near the family farm in Ethel, Mo., which all his brothers had previously attended. When the school closed due to a lack of pupils, he and the remaining students were transferred to the nearby Ethel school system. He graduated from Ethel High School in 1950 and enrolled in a nearby state teachers’ college—also attended by his brothers. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from what is now Truman State University and graduated in 1957 from medical school at the Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery.
Dr. Kelso interned at Muskegon Osteopathic Hospital in Muskegon, Michigan, and later performed a residency in anesthesiology at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital.
In 1961, he began his practice in anesthesiology in Grand Prairie, Texas, at Mid-Cities Memorial Hospital (later Dallas/Ft. Worth Medical Center). He started and directed the hospital training program in anesthesiology from 1969 to 1987 and was chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology from 1976 to 1984. He was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine for many years.
Following his retirement in 2000, he continued practicing part-time anesthesia at an outpatient surgery clinic in Grand Prairie until retiring from all practice in 2008.
Dr. Kelso was past president and a life member of the American Osteopathic College of Anesthesiologists and was made a Fellow in 1972. He became a diplomate of the American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesia in 1966. Other professional memberships included the American Osteopathic Association and the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. He was honored in both organizations with life membership in 2002. Dr. Kelso also taught clinical internships, clerkships, and residencies.
After moving to Texas in 1961, Dr. Kelso met the woman who would become his wife, Heide, of Offenbach, Germany. They had two children and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on April 22, 2022. He loved playing golf and spending time with his family.
Dr. Kelso was preceded in death by his parents; his three brothers and their wives: Dr. Paul Kelso (Dorothy), John Kelso (Elizabeth), and Dr. George Kelso (Carolyn); brother-in-law, Dr. Donald Plattner; niece, Karen Sue Kelso; and great-nephew, Scott Westin. He is survived by his wife, Heide; children, Anita Edson (Scott) and Paul Kelso (Jennifer); granddaughter, Rachel Christine Kelso; sister-in-law, Gertraud (Traudi) Plattner; brother-in-law, Peter Schultheiss (Dagmar); and nieces and nephews: Coleen Kelso; Keith, Kenneth, and Benny Kelso (Vangie); Dr. Mark Kelso (Julie); Drs. Leslie Winemiller (Kirk); Paula Michie (Ken); and Donald Plattner (Danielle). Many great- and great-great nieces and nephews also survive him.
Funeral arrangements were managed by Lawson Funeral Home in Meridian. Pastor Terry Atkins of Salem Lutheran Church in Rosebud, Texas, officiated at a graveside service held at the Old Rock Church’s St. Olaf Cemetery in the Norse District of Cranfills Gap on January 12.
Dr. Kelso’s family would like to thank the compassionate teams at Hospice Sunset and the Sunset Home in Clifton for their dedicated and thoughtful care for Dr. Kelso in his final days.
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