Mark Wesley Kelsey, former Washington Indiana resident, passed away with eight fellow firefighters during a tragic store fire in Charleston, June 18.
He was a son of Clarence and Paula (Crane) Kelsey.
Mark was a 1985 graduate of Washington High School and had a wrestling state championship in 1984. During his school years he, along with his two brothers, raced go-karts and motorcycles competitively for 11 years. He placed second in the American Motorcycle Association 100 class for the Indiana state championship. The three also competed in the national championship at Niles, MI, in 1982 and in Ohio in 1983.
He was a member of the Naval ROTC for five years during his junior and senior high school years. After graduation he enlisted in the Navy in August of 1985 and served his country for 12 years. He began basic training in Orlando, FL, and was then transferred to the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. He served in the Persian Gulf during the war as a boiler tech. During this time in Bahrain he met and fell in love with Analyn Cabrera, whom he married in December of 1990. They have a son, Paul Anthony Kelsey, born October 8, 1992, in Charleston where Mark was stationed to finish his naval career. During this time in Charleston he worked at the Ashley River Fire Department as a volunteer and served with them a total of 15 years.
Mark was a captain at this department and after finishing his military career he also began a full time career as a fireman working for the City of Charleston for a total of 12 years. He was an engineer at Station 10 and acting captain. He also had been certified as a state fire investigator specializing in arson investigations. His two greatest passions in life were, first and foremost, being a firefighter and being a avid motorcycle enthusiast. He belonged to the Wolfpack Motorcycle Club in Charleston and enjoyed any spare time on his custom bike.
He is survived by his mother, Paula Kelsey of Washington; a son, Paul Kelsey of Charleston; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Lee and Patty Kelsey and Tom and Missy Kelsey, all of Washington; grandmother, Ruby Chestnut of Booneville; nieces and nephews, Krista, Kasey, Abby and Sammy Kelsey, all of Washington; and his companion for the last four years, Christina Prevatte.
He was preceded in death by his father, Clarence Kelsey; grandfathers, Clarence R. Kelsey and Lee Crane; step-grandfather, Raymond Chestnut; grandmother, Beth Crane; and step-grandmother, Martha Kelsey. Interment was in Sugarland Memory Gardens.
The victims and their years of service are:
*Captain William "Billy" Hutchinson, 30 years service
*Captain Mike Benke, 29 years service
*Captain Louis Mulkey, 11½ years service
*Engineer Mark Kelsey, 12½ years service
*Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, 9 years service
*Asst. Engineer Michael French, 1½ years service
*Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton, 32 years service
*Firefighter Brandon Thompson, 4 years service
*Firefighter Melvin Champaign, 2 years service
Clarence W. Kelsey