Elton Earl Caldwell, 86, Nevada, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008, at Moore-Few Care Center, Nevada, following a lengthy illness. He was born May 1, 1921, in Cedar County, Mo., to James Thomas Caldwell and Ella Payne Hess Caldwell. He married Ellen L. Short on April 13, 1945, in San Diego, Calif., and she survives of the home.
Elton was born and raised in Cedar County and graduated from El Dorado Springs High School. He joined the United States Navy at the age of 21 and served in World War II from 1942-1945. He served on the U.S.S. North Hampton in the South Pacific and one of the few survivors when that ship was sunk. He later served on the U.S.S. Vireo. He took part in 17 major battles. He was a second class diver and retired as Boatsman Mate Second Class. At one time while serving on the U.S.S. Vireo, he served for two years and six days before seeing land again. He was awarded the following medals: the World War II Victory, Good Conduct -- Navy, Philippine Liberation, Asiatic Pacific Campaign, and American Campaign. Following the service, he worked on the pipeline in Iola, Kan., for two years and returned to Vernon County in 1948. He farmed in the Walker, area and bought a fleet of lime trucks. Elton operated a general store, feed store, was Postmaster, and hauled livestock from 1953-1958 in Dederick, Mo. He owned and operated the Cottey Grocery. In 1958 he came to Nevada and managed various different fertilizer companies; lime and fertilizer business for 32 years and C&S Fertilizer with Wilma Shupe for more than 15 years. Most recently he raised cattle.
Survivors include his wife Ellen of the home; two sons, Earl Caldwell and his wife Joyce, Nevada, and Terry Caldwell and his wife Susie, Nevada; five grandchildren, Marty Caldwell and his wife Sandy, Nevada, Misty Shepherd and her husband Curtis, Diamond, Mo., Eric Caldwell and his wife Leray, Nevada, Mendy Legleiter and her husband Leon, Durham, N.C., and Justin Caldwell and his wife Claudia, Nevada; eight great-grandchildren, Kelsey Caldwell, Erica Caldwell, Triston Shepherd, Colton Caldwell, Owen Caldwell, Tori Shepherd, Riley Legleiter and McKenzie Cox; two brothers, Virgil Caldwell, El Dorado Springs, and Forest Caldwell, Muskogee, Okla.; three stepsisters, Rosalee Cross, state of California, Kathryn Holt, Kansas City, Mo., and Lorene Westerlin, Osceola, Mo. He was preceded in death by one son, Kelly Caldwell on March 4, 1985; two brothers, Alfred and James; two sisters, Jewell Messick and Dixie Holcomb and three stepbrothers, Carl Eason, Cecil Eason, and Virgil Eason.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with John Nichols officiating. Interment will follow in Newton Burial Park, Nevada, with Military Honors. Friends may call now and until the hour of service at the funeral home.
Those who wish may contribute in his memory to the American Cancer Society in care of Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.