Official Obituary of

Col. Donald Arthur Kellum

December 13, 1935 ~ March 14, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Col. Donald Kellum Obituary

Sumter, SC.... Colonel Donald Arthur Kellum, 88, husband of Martha Myers Kellum, passed away on March 14, 2024, in Sumter, SC after a short illness.  He was a retired Air Force colonel.

He served over 33 years in the Air Force during 1953-1986. Assignments in senior positions included Air Forces Central Command Chief of Staff, Ninth Air Force Director of Plans, Thirteenth Air Force Vice Commander, and Tactical Air Command Chief of the Exercise Plans Division. He authored numerous operations and theater infrastructure plans for conduct of military operations in the Middle East during the evolution of US Central Command, planned the withdrawal of Air Force forces from Thailand and Taiwan following the Vietnam War, and numerous other plans in support of the combatant commands.

During operational flying assignments, Colonel Kellum flew 144 combat missions in RF-4 aircraft during the Vietnam War, over 1600 combat support hours in RC-130 aircraft, and over 3000 hours in B-47 aircraft. Overall, he logged over 5800 hours in fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance aircraft. His military awards include the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with eleven Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and numerous other awards and decorations.

After retiring from the Air Force, Colonel Kellum was a co-founder and senior military scientist with Simulation Technologies Inc. and was a senior military analyst with General Dynamics and Addx Corporations.  In these positions, he served over 25 years providing staff support to Headquarters U.S Air Force, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Colonel Kellum was an active member of the General George L. Mabry, Jr. Chapter 817 of the Military Order of the Purple. He served as the Chapter Judge Advocate, Public Affairs Officer, Webmaster, and Historian while supporting chapter activities to assist active duty and retired military veterans in the Sumter community.  In 2023, he was designated the South Carolina Patriot of the Year at the Purple Heart State Convention.

He was awarded a bachelor’s degree from the University of Omaha and a master’s degree from The George Washington University. He was a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and completed numerous other military courses.  He was also a member of the Air Force Association, Military Officers Association of America, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was listed in the 57th and later editions of Marquez Who’s Who in America.

Colonel Kellum attended the Alice Drive Baptist Church in Sumter.  He was the son of the late Captain Harry S. Kellum of Jacksonville, FL and the late Lois and Roy Wainright of Madison, FL.  He is survived by his loving wife, Martha of Sumter, SC; daughter, Kathryn Kellum Comer (Scott), of Sumter, SC; and son, Donald Wainright Kellum (Alicia) of Atlanta, GA. 

Brothers and sisters are the late Harry Kellum, Jr. and the late Alexander Kellum of Tampa FL, the late Nancy McGriff of Madison, FL, the late Ann Croasdell of Winter Park, FL and Rose Lauget of Lutz, FL. In addition, he had four grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

No funeral service will be held, but memorials may be made to Alice Drive Baptist Church, 1305 Loring Mill Road, Sumter, SC 29150.

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