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ELMER KELTON, GREATEST WESTERN AUTHOR OF ALL TIME, PASSES ON 


(August 22, 2009) The prolific and highly respected Texas author Elmer Steven Kelton died in his sleep early this morning in San Angelo at the age of eighty-three years. Elmer was born April 29, 1926 on the Five Wells Ranch east of Andrews to Buck and Beatrice Kelton. He graduated from Crane High School and started classes at the University of Texas in 1942. In 1944, he put aside his studies to join the U.S. Army Infantry and saw combat in Europe during World War II. In 1947, Elmer married Anna Lipp of Edensee, Austria.

The couple returned to the United States where Elmer graduated from U.T. with a degree in journalism. Kelton worked as farm and ranch editor for the San Angelo Standard Times from 1948 to 1963 writing his first book "Hot Iron" in 1956. That same year Kelton penned "Buffalo Wagons" winning the Spur Award for distinguished writing of the Western Writers Of America. His 1973 "The Time It Never Rained" won the Western Heritage Award from the Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Tommie Lee Jones starred in and directed Elmer's "The Good Old Boys" Turner Classic Movie. The Western Writers Of America named Kelton the number one western writer of all time. During his career, Kelton wrote sixty-two books and was the only writer to win the Spur Award seven times. He served as editor of Sheep & Goat Raiser Magazine and associate editor of Livestock Weekly for many years. At the time of his death, Elmer has two books "Other Men's Horses" and "Texas Standoff" that are to be published posthumously. Even though Elmer has been ill for several months he was working on and hoped to complete a new Hewey Calloway "Good Old Boys" story.

Anna Kelton, his wife of sixty-two years, sons Gary Kelton of Plainview and Steve Kelton of San Angelo and daughter Kathy Kelton and their spouses survive him. Elmer and Anna have four grand children, five great-grandchildren and one great grand child. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to a favorite charity, or to the Tom Green County Library Elmer Kelton Statue Fund at the San Angelo Area Foundation, 2201 Sherwood Way, Suite 205. Elmer Kelton's funeral is to be held Thursday at 2:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 36 E. Beauregard, in San Angelo.


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