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Obituaries

Elmer Kelton, 1926-2009

Award-winning Western novelist wrote more than 40 books

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Elmer Stephen Kelton, 83, died Saturday. He was born April 29, 1926, at Horse Camp in Andrews County, Texas, to Mr. and Mrs. R.W. “Buck” Kelton, and grew up on the McElroy Ranch in Upton and Crane counties. He completed his education at the University of Texas after serving in Europe during World War II.

Elmer Kelton
Elmer Kelton

Kelton married Anna Lipp of Ebensee, Austria, in 1947 and began a career in agriculture journalism at the San Angelo Standard-Times in 1949. He became editor of the Sheep & Goat Raiser magazine in 1963 and associate editor of Livestock Weekly in 1968, retiring in 1990. Kelton maintained a parallel career as a freelance writer, beginning with short stories in the post-war pulp magazine trade, progressing to novels, nonfiction books and countless magazine articles. In all, he wrote more than 40 books, including The Time it Never Rained, The Wolf and the Buffalo, The Day the Cowboys Quit and The Good Old Boys, which became a TNT movie directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones.

His newest book, Other Men’s Horses, is to be released this fall and he recently finished his last book, Texas Standoff, which is due out next year.

Kelton was named the No. 1 Western writer of all time by the Western Writers of America. The WWA voted him seven Spur awards for best Western novel of the year and the career Saddleman Award, and he received four Western Heritage Wrangler awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ann Kelton of San Angelo; sons Gary Kelton of Plainview, Texas, and Steve Kelton of San Angelo, with wife Karen McGinnis, and daughter Kathy Kelton, also of San Angelo, and companion Pat Hennigan. He and Ann have four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He is also survived by his brothers, Merle and wife Ann of May, Texas; Bill and wife Pat of Atlanta, Texas; and Eugene and wife Peggy of McCamey, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the giver’s favorite charity or the Tom Green County Library’s Elmer Kelton statue fund through the San Angelo Area Foundation, 2201 Sherwood Way, Suite 205, San Angelo, Texas 76901.

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