American Veteran 07

Elna "Tony" Luella (Becker) Kettel

December 28, 1923 ~ May 16, 2021 (age 97)


Elna “Tony” Luella Kettel, 97, of Princeville passed away on May 16, 2021. She was born in Elsinore California on December 28, 1923. 

Elna wore many hats in her long life.  During her late teens she worked for Douglas Aircraft as one of the original Rosy the Riveters building aircraft for the war effort.  She was a welder and riveter in the Southern California plant.  Later she moved to the Puget Sound area in Washington State to a small town called Sequim.  She was then hired by Ma’ Bell and was a telephone operator throughout the war years.  She was engaged at that time to her husband of 60 years who was in Europe fighting with the US war effort. He was assigned to the Army Air Corps stationed in England as a Ball Turret Gunner on a B17, the very planes that she had been building for Douglas Aircraft.  She and Alvin Kettel were married at the end of the war when he returned to Washington State.  She even happened to be the telephone operator that answered his phone call announcing his return when he called home after landing on the US mainland.  She next moved further out into the Olympic Peninsula rain forest to become the camp cook for Allen Logging Company feeding 18 very hungry rustlers.   She has been busy building gardens, baking wedding cakes and doing art projects for 85 years only to retire to Kauai to become a fruit farmer growing and selling to the local markets.  The farm produces Longon, Rambutan, Avocado, Papaya, Mango, Bananas and many exotic flowers.  She has truly been an Entrepreneur in the past 97 years. 

Tony spent every possible day at the Moloa’a farm walking in her flower garden.  She would exercise each day for an hour then have a fruit snack and doze off while Craig finished farming chores.  On Sunday the 16th of May she followed her daily routine, ate two bananas, some of the new Longon crop and peacefully dozed off in her chair in the midst of her flower garden and never returned.

She is preceded in death by husband, Alvin Daniel Kettel and daughter, Lori Ann Kettel.

Tony is survived by her daughter, Linda (Craig) Dillard; grandchildren, Kristina Dillard and Wendy Darling; great-grandchildren, Maya Roxy Turner, David Moses Darling-Cunningham and Zachary Lyon Blue and sisters, Margaret Lane and Elsie Rouner.

Services to be determined at a later date.

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