Obituary: Lena Kelm

Lena and Edward Kelm with children, Ernie, Joyce, and Ken, around 1950. Courtesy of Jeff Kelm.

“ADELINE (LENA) KELM (nee DRAILICH) June 30, 1920 – August 5, 2004

With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our cherished mother, Lena, in the early morning of August 5, 2004 at the Grace General Hospital, after a courageous, lengthy battle with the complications of sugar diabetes. She was surrounded by the love and prayers of her children and the spirit of many friends. Her faith in God sustained her as she began her next journey. Lenas memory will be lovingly cherished by her children: Joyce Hamonic, Headingley; Ernie Kelm, Ottawa; Bettiann Kelm (Barry Baker), Calgary; her grandsons: Jeff (Catherine) Kelm, Ottawa; Greg Kelm, Quebec City; and their mother, Yvette Kelm, Regina. She was predeceased by her son Ken (1984) her husband, Edward (1986) and her special “son”-in-law Maurice, just three weeks ago. She was the sixth child of Bertha and Gustave Drailich. Lena was predeceased by her parents and her sisters, Pauline Olga Drailich and Lillian Nealy and her brothers, Alfred, Herbert, Arnold, Ernest, Harry as well as two brothers in infancy. She is survived by sisters-in-law, Hilda and Lyla Kelm, Helen Drylick and Madeline Dreilick; and brother-in-law Dan Kelm. Lena was born in Camper, MB on June 30, 1920. Lena spent her youth in Camper. We were regaled with her spirited tales of homestead life – “poor, but happy times” – the one-room school house, Christmas concerts, chores on the farm, country dances and lively house parties, all intertwined with warm memories of her family and life-long friendships. Lena married Edward Kelm in the Camper Lutheran Church on January 31, 1942. Lena and Ed began their 44 year marriage on a mixed farm near Marquette, MB where their four children were born. In 1958 the family moved to Winnipeg. Here Lena began a 20 year working career with Canada Packers and Manitoba Dairy and Poultry. Lena and Ed built the family home in 1960. Lena resided here until 2003. Our home was the centre of lively gatherings for family and friends. Visitors were always welcome and the coffee pot was always on. Lena was an independent, creative, resourceful woman with a deep inner strength. She sewed, knitted, embroidered, crocheted, gardened, cooked, baked, canned and was handy with a paint brush, saw and hammer. Lena loved to travel and visit family and friends. She enjoyed trips within Canada, to Hawaii, Barbados and Europe. Lena was a member of the First English Lutheran Church. Here she made special, supportive friends with whom she enjoyed many years of socializing. Lena has left us with a legacy of inner strength, perseverance, warmth and love. Her memory and teachings will guide us and will live on in our hearts forever. “She whom we love and lose is no longer where she was before. She is now wherever we are.” St. John Chrysostom Funeral Liturgy and interment will be held on Monday, August 9 at 3:00 p.m. at Chapel Lawn Funeral Home, 4000 Portage Ave. with Pastor W. Lehman officiating.”

From: “ADELINE (LENA) KELM (DRAILICH).” Winnipeg Free Press, 08 Aug 2004. Retrieved 20 Sep 2020,

Finding Serafina Kelm (1883-1910)

Note: As always, I will update this blog entry with more information and sources as I find it. If you have more information about Serafina, or Seraphine, Kelm, feel free to comment or email me at

In my previous blog post, I talked about Julius’ and Serafina’s immigrating to Manitoba. Serafina was Julius’ first wife. The first record I have that mentions her is the birth record for her daughter, Olga Kelm, entered in a Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe database. Olga was born in Neudorf, Novograd Volynsk [Volhynia], Russia, on July 12, 1903, making her almost three years old when she arrived in Manitoba in May 1906. In the birth record, Serafina is recorded as “Seraphine Albert,” which makes me wonder if one of the boarders, H. Albert, (a single thirty-year-old Polish man) mentioned as living at 677 Ross Street with the Kelms in the 1906 Census is a relative.

On June 24, 1906, just two days before the census takers arrived at 677 Ross Street, Serafina gave birth to a baby boy who soon died. Another son, William Kelm, was born the following year, on May 24, 1907. Serafina is recorded as “Josephine Herman” in the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency genealogy database, but “Josephine” may be a transcription error. Herman is a surname mentioned in the 1906 Census (see previous blog post); a boarder and possible relative, Christian [Herman], was living with the Kelm family in 1906. I would need look at William’s birth record, which I don’t have at the moment, to see if I can glean more information.

From: “[Unnamed Kelm death record].” Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. Retrieved 21 Jun 2012. Courtesy of P. Reakes.

Serafina (recorded as Seraphine Kalm) died February 20, 1910, at the age of twenty-six at the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. Her death record (see below) states that she died of “organic heart failure” and that she had been sick for three months. The Brookside Cemetery Burial Search indicates that she was buried two months later, on April 16, probably because the ground was too frozen. At the time of her death, the Kelms were living at 261 Dorothy Street.(1)

From: Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 22 Feb 1910. Retrieved 14 Jan 2020 from
From: “[Seraphine Kelm death record]” Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. Retrieved 21 Jun 2012. Courtesy of P. Reakes.

(1) Looking at the 1911 Census (see Census transcriptions at the Manitoba Historical Society website) reveals that 261 Dorothy Street, located next to the Canadian Pacific Railway station, was home to many tenants—at least 41 in 1911⁠—though there are no Kelms living there according to the 1911 Census (and I have been unable to find them elsewhere).

Journey to Canada, 1906

Note: This blog entry will expand as I verify more information.

According to this Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922 ship manifest (scroll down to view the relevant section), my great-grandfather, Julius Kelm (recorded here as “Julius Kelin”), made the journey from Volhynia, Russia (present-day Ukraine), to Canada in 1906. Julius; his wife, Serafin[a] (age 22); son, Gustav (age 3); and daughter, Olga (age 2), arrived in Quebec City, Quebec, in May 1906. They arrived by ship, the passenger cargo steamship SS Mount Temple, their final destination Winnipeg, Manitoba. Julius is described as a farm labourer and the family is recorded as Russian.

From: Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922. Retrieved 12 Jan 2020 from FamilySearch,

One thing that I noticed while writing this blog entry was that all four members of the family have “N.A.T.C. Bonus Allowed” stamped beside their names. According to Library and Archives Canada, NATC stood for the North Atlantic Trading Company, a company contracted to find “suitable immigrants” from 1899 to 1910. I have always wondered why the Kelm family decided to migrate to Manitoba, so this is a good starting point—a future blog post maybe.

Tragedy struck soon after the family arrived in Winnipeg. On May 31, 1906, Julius’ and Serafina’s son, Gustav, died of pneumonia. According to family lore, Julius’ young son fell ill while crossing the Atlantic and died very soon after they arrived in Winnipeg. The following record was found through the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, under “Gustav Kahn.” Because his parents are not listed and because of the age discrepancy (he is listed as five years old and not three like in the ship manifest, but the two-year discrepancy also applies to other family members), I cross-checked information to make sure it was the same Gustav. In this record, Gustav’s birthplace is listed as Russia, and the address listed is 677 Ross Street, Winnipeg.

From: “[Gustav Kahn death record].” Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. Retrieved 18 Jul 2018.

The address matches what is recorded in the 1906 Canada Northwest Provinces Census, which was recorded June 28. Julius (under “J Calman”), Serafina, Olga, and two boarders (H. Albert and Christian Geaman—possibly German or Herman) are living at 677 Ross Street. Gustav is no longer with them.

From: “1906 Canada Northwest Provinces Census.” Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 12 Jan 2020 from Ancestry.

To be continued.

Blog Update

Welcome to 2020. My apologies for disappearing. 2019 was a big year—for me (I got a new job and moved apartments) and for the Kelm family in general. First of all, my grandma, Lyla Kelm, passed away on June 18, 2019. She was ninety-eight years old. I have copied her obituary in the preceding post, but I am looking for stories about her, even short anecdotes. If you have a story about Lyla, I would appreciate if you would allow me to share it here. My email is

I have big dreams for this blog, but am waiting to acquire a few things in order to really get going: a decent scanner for several family photos I acquired this summer and a subscription to Adobe Photoshop so I can edit. My computer is very slow, so it may be a month or so before I am adequately equipped to share all that I want to.

Obituary: Lyla Kelm

Lyla Kelm with my dad, John Kelm, in 1942 or 1943

“KELM, Lyla Ruth 1921 – 2019 Passed away peacefully and went to be with her Lord on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in her 99th year. Predeceased by her beloved husband Robert and her son Wally. Cherished mother of four daughters Ruth (Frank), Lois (Sam), Phyllis (John), Jean (Tony) and four sons John (Lynn), George (Debbie), Jim and Steve. Loving grandmother of 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Fondly remembered by her nieces and nephews. Lyla was an active member of Central Community Church. The family will receive friends at Central Community Church, 240 Scott Street, St. Catharines on Monday, June 24th from 11:00 a.m. A Celebration of Lyla’s life will follow at 12:00 p.m. Interment Victoria Lawn Cemetery. If so desired, donations made in Lyla’s memory to Community Care would be appreciated by her family. Heartfelt thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff at NHS, St. Catharines site for their compassion and care.”

From: “Lyla KELM Obituary.”, 18 Jun 2019. Retrieved 11 Jan 2020,

Obituary: Julius and Martha Kelm

The following newspaper clippings contain obituaries for my great-grandparents, Julius and Martha Kelm, and are from the Winnipeg Evening Tribune and digitized for the University of Manitoba Digital Collections.

From: “KELM.” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 28 Feb 1959. Retrieved 18 Apr 2019 from University of Manitoba Digital Collections,

From: “MARTHA KELM.” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 21 Jul 1965. Retrieved 18 Apr 2019 from University of Manitoba Digital Collections,

From: “MARTHA KELM.” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 22 Jul 1965. Retrieved 18 Apr 2019 from University of Manitoba Digital Collections,

Ed and Lena Kelm in “Footsteps through the Years”

The University of Manitoba Digital Collections is a good resource for digitized Manitoba history. Among their local history books is Footsteps through the Years, which mentions Edward and Lena Kelm (Edward is the son of Julius and Martha Kelm). Click the URL in the citation after the transcription below if you would like to view the original.

“Kelms 1938-1958

Ed bought a farm in Marquette in 1938. During the summers of 1938-38 and 40 acres of land was broken [sic], crops sowed and harvested with the Becker brothers. Ed’s winters were spent working in the mine at Creighton, Ontario.

January 31, 1942 Ed married Lena Drailick of Camper. The newlyweds arrived in Marquette on the night train Feb. 6 1942. After having dinner at Charlie Ursels they were driven to their farm.

Ed and Lea have four children, all born during their years at Marquette.

Joyce married Maurice Hamonie in 1969. They reside in Headingly and Joyce teaches school in Winnipeg.

Ernie married Yvette Beaudin of Montreal in 1969. Ernie works for the External Affairs Dept. in Ottawa and he and his family have resided mainly in Switzerland and Israel. They have two sons born in Tel Aviv, Israel. They returned to Ottawa, Ontario in 1975.

Kenneth resides in Winnipeg doing construction work.

Bettyann graduated from the U. of M. in Home Economics and is presently enrolled in the Education Dep. of the University of Edmonton, Alberta.

The Kelm family moved from Marquette with the help of Douglas Strachan and Chas. Slocombe, on September 14, 1958. They have many memories of the little “white” school, Ed’s Sayer Creck fishing days with Bill Maltby and Bill Kulezycki and the winter spent in the bush (1946-47) at the Lakehead with Mike Wallace, also of Marquette.

Ed retired on Feb. 12, 1976 but kept busy. Presently he is planning to build a cabin at Waterhen this summer. Fishing still takes up many summer weekends.

Lena continues to work at Canada Packers. Traveling to see her grandchildren has been her hobby for the last five years.

From: Marquette and District Historical Guild. Footsteps through the Years: Ossowa, Reaburn, Marquette, Meadow Lea, Poplar Heights, p. 126. Marquette: Marquette and District Historical Guild, [late 1970s]. Retrieved 18 Apr 2019 from University of Manitoba Digital Collections,

Obituary: Jennie Kelm

Jennie Kelm was born Eugenja Heft in Lublin, Poland, in 1902. She was married to Daniel Kelm, son of Julius Kelm and Martha Kirsch. I found the OCRed text of her obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press, dated March 24, 1995. The following is an excerpt. I made screenshots of the newspaper PDF from NewspaperArchive if you would like to request the full text and the PDF is unavailable at the link.

“Jennie Kelm, aged 72 years, passed away at the Seven Oaks Hospital on March 21, 1995.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Daniel: two daughters, Sandra (Bruce) Mellon, Eleanor (Ted) Laidlaw; her son Daniel W. (Diana) Kelm; eight grandchildren, Rachel, Ester, Aaron, Clinton, Rebecca, David, James and Elaine; one great-granddaughter Clarissa […]

Jennie was confirmed in Zion Lutheran Church where she had been a lifelong member. For 20 years, Jennie was employed in the luggage department at The Bay. Jennie was a very devoted wife and mother whose pride and joy were her children and grandchildren. She loved to prepare meals and go berry picking…”

From: “JENNIE KELM.” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 Mar 1995. Retrieved 17 Apr 2019 from NewspaperArchive,

Story: Butterfly Funeral

“I remember when I was a young girl living in Chalk River I had my grandparents come visit us. I had caught a monarch butterfly and it soon died. Grandpa (Robert Kelm) seen this and helped me put it in a match box and bury it near a location I chose near the crabapple tree in our yard and we did a ceremony before we finished burying it. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” he said . I never heard that before and it was cute. Thx grandpa.”

Belinda Fairchild, 16 April 2019

Do you have a family story to share? Please email me at