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Kindley cousins make first-time visit to family home in Gravette

by Susan Holland | September 18, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Susan Holland/Westside Eagle Observer Russell Kindley, of Inola, Okla.; Darrell Kindley, of Missouri City, Texas; and Russell's granddaqughter, Alexi McKay, of Inola, pose beside the stone marker in front of the historic Kindley home during their visit Friday, Sept. 1. The trio were making their first visit to the home of their relative, World War I air ace Field Kindley.

GRAVETTE -- Brothers Russell Kindley, of Inola, Okla., and Darrell Kindley, of Missouri City, Texas, visited the historic Kindley home in Gravette on Sept. 1.

Russell brought his granddaughter, Alexi McKay. This was a first-time visit for all three.

Darrell explained that the brothers are distant cousins of Field Kindley, the celebrated World War I air ace who lived in the home during his younger years. Their great-great-great-grandfather, John D. Kindley Sr., was a brother of Field's great-grandfather, William Kindley. Darrell has been researching family genealogy and recently learned about the Kindley home and museum online.

The timing of the visit served two purposes. The Gravette Lions were playing the Inola Longhorns team that night, and Russell was in town to watch the football game. His grandson, Zavian McKay, is a junior who plays offense and defense on the team.

Both brothers were quite interested in all the displays in the extensive Field Kindley exhibit at the museum annex and enjoyed touring the historic Kindley home. Alexi too was fascinated with all the history she was learning and was snapping many photographs.

Russell was especially excited about their discovery and said he had been in town two years ago for the Gravette-Inola game before they knew the home was here. "I can't believe I was right here at the football game and this was only a few blocks away," he exclaimed.

Russell said he wants to return and bring his family. After learning about the museum's plans for the annual holiday celebration, he said, "When you have your Christmas celebration, I'll be here."

Darrell was visiting his brother in Inola at the time of their trip. He said he had been living in Alabama, where he established an aviation service company and named it Ace Aeronautics because he knew he had a relative who was an air ace. He sold the company this spring and recently retired to a Houston suburb to be near his grandchildren.

Ace Aeronautics, based in Guntersville, Ala., is known for providing service life extension and upgrades for UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to commercial and military customers around the world, including the Austrian Air Force and the Portuguese Air Force. International Defense and Aerospace Group announced on March 8 they had acquired the company.

Beth Johnson, museum curator, and several members of the museum commission welcomed the Kindley family visitors with special displays and served refreshments of coffee and cookies, cheese and crackers, pumpkin bread, watermelon and citrus-flavored water. Louise Evans, Patti Bertschy, Janice Deaton, Bob Kelley and Al Blair were on hand to answer questions and assist with tours of the Kindley home and annex. They presented the visitors with commemorative Kindley House museum mugs.

Darrell Kindley shared information from the Kindley family tree and brought a copy of The John D. Kindley Genealogy compiled by Glen Dale Kindley, which contained new facts for the museum's records. After browsing through the museum's exhibits, touring the historic Kindley home, sharing family stories and enjoying refreshments, the visitors showed their appreciation for the efforts to preserve Kindley family history by presenting a $500 donation to the museum commission.

  photo  Susan Holland/Westside Eagle Observer Museum commission members Patti Bertschy, Louise Evans, Al Blair and Janice Deaton, museum curator Beth Johnson and museum commission treasurer Bob Kelley pose with Darrell Kindley of Missouri City, Texas; Alexi McKay and Russell Kindley of Inola, Okla., during their visit to the historic Kindley home and museum annex Sept. 1.

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