Colonel Thomas Leo Kerley, U.S. Army, retired, age 94, passed away peacefully on January 10, 2013, in his sleep at home. He was born in Sumerall, MS, on August 1, 1918, to the late Denis Leo Kerley and Mary Elizabeth Faler. He was predeceased by his wife, Essie Delane Kerley; and son, Philip Anthony Kerley. Colonel Kerley had attended Holy Family Catholic Church and was a veteran of the conflicts during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. During his career, he rose from the rank of Private to full Colonel.
During WWII, Colonel Kerley served with the 31st and 78th Infantry Divisions and in combat attached to Merrill's Marauders as an Infantry Advisor to Chinese forces in the China Burma India Theater. He later served in the Korean War as an Infantry Advisor to the Republic of South Korean Forces. In Vietnam, he served as the Executive Assistant to the Depot Commander at the Cam Ranh Bay Logistical Depot. Between Korea and Vietnam, he served in Europe with the 3rd Armored Division as a Battalion Commander and as G4 Logistics. He subsequently served at the Pentagon on the Joint Chiefs of Staff as Chief of the Logistics Readiness Center.
Over the course of his military career, Colonel Kerley was awarded two Combat Infantry Badges, one Legion of Merit, one Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, and three Army Commendation Ribbons. In 1968 he was inducted into the Officer Candidate School Infantry Hall of Fame at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He is included as an honoree at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Colonel Kerley was a loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Donna Magdalen Kerley, and son, Dennis Leo Kerley of Virginia Beach, VA; son, Malcolm Thomas Kerley and wife Sharon, and son, Michael David Kerley of Richmond, VA; brother Joseph Andrew Kerley and wife Yvonne of Thibodaux, LA; grandchildren, Kathryn Kerley DeVriendt and husband Erik, Jennifer Kerley Larkum and husband Michael, and Matthew Thomas Kerley of Richmond, VA; and great-grandchildren, Jonah Lester DeVriendt, Alice Mae DeVriendt, and Eva Blair Larkum of Richmond, VA.
Family will receive friends at the Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Great Neck Chapel, on Wednesday, January 16, 2013, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. A Mass of Resurrection will be held at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at Ft. Myers Memorial Chapel, Fort Myers, VA, with burial in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, Norfolk, VA. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com.
Read COL Thomas Kerley, USA (Ret.)'s Obituary and Guestbook on www.hollomon-brown.com.