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Paulanna “Pepper” Kirtley, 94

September 13, 2013

Paulanna Y. “Pepper” Kirtley, 94, retired co-publisher of the Tri County Truth in Churubusco and widow of James H. Kirtley, passed away at 2:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, at the Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas. She had been in declining health for several months.
Mrs. Kirtley was born Dec. 14, 1918, in Rochester, the daughter of Paul S. and Catherine (Clarey) Blacketor. As a girl she moved to Huntington with her parents and graduated from Huntington High School.
On Sept. 3, 1942, she was married in Lakeland, Fla. to James H. Kirtley, and attended Florida State University.
Residing in Churubusco for more than 60 years, she attended IPFW in Fort Wayne, and along with her husband worked as the co-publisher and sometimes editor of the Tri-County Truth for 35 years, retiring in 1981.
In addition to her position as a prominent business person in Churubusco, her life was marked by community service and memberships in several organizations. She was a member of the Churubusco United Methodist Church, where she had served as a church trustee, administrative board secretary, Chancel Choir member, and an adult Sunday school teacher for 16 years.
She was a past member of the Whitley County Art Guild, the Woman’s Cultural Club in Churubusco, and the Sigma Eta Fine Arts Sorority. She was a member of People Preserving History, was past secretary of the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce, and served on the board of directors of the Churubusco Public Library for 15 years. She also wrote the column “Salt and Pepper” for The Post & Mail for several years.
In 1992, she received the honorary “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce, and was honored as the Churubusco Turtle Days parade marshal in 1997.
Mr. Kirtley preceded her in death May 16, 1984.
The surviving relatives include her daughter, Kathy Ann (Joseph) Aldridge of Abilene, Texas; her granddaughter, Alison (Neil) Sengupta of Columbia, S.C.; and her great-grandchildren, Noah, Kris and Bela Sengupta. In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a brother Gordon Blacketor July 25, 1980.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Churubusco United Methodist Church, with Pastor Corinne Boruff-Stucker officiating. The family will receive friends at Sheets & Childs Funeral Home in Churubusco Monday from 4 to 8 p.m., or at the church one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in the Eel River Cemetery, south of Churubusco.
The family requests memorials be directed to Churubusco United Methodist Church, 750 N. Main St., Churubusco, IN 46723; or the Churubusco Public Library, 116 N. Mulberry St., Churubusco, IN 46723.
To leave an online condolence for the family in Mrs. Kirtley’s memory, visit

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