Kentucky National Guard mourns death of retired Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Billy Wellman.

Staff Report

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Maj. Gen. Billy G. Wellman,

Maj. Gen. Billy G. Wellman,

The Kentucky National Guard is mourning the loss of one of their own. Retired Maj. Gen. Billy G. Wellman passed away Tuesday, Nov. 1 in his home in Ashland, Ky. at the age of 83. He served as Kentucky’s Adjutant General from 1977 to 1987 under three different Governors.

“I was saddened to hear of the recent passing of General Billy G. Wellman,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “By taking just a quick glance at his resume, one can see how much he loved his country and community. Gen. Wellman’s career was defined by servant leadership, both in the Kentucky National Guard and through various appointments.  He was cut from a special kind of cloth and will be greatly missed by those who were fortunate enough to cross his path.”

Maj. Gen. Wellman’s distinguished career not only included serving as The Adjutant General for Kentucky. He was appointed in 1982 as the Secretary of the Justice Cabinet and Kentucky State Police Commissioner under Governor John Y. Brown Jr. in 1982 as well. In 1983, he also was selected by his peers to serve as the President of the Adjutant Generals Association of the United States.

The Kentucky National Guard’s Armory One, located in the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky. was named in his honor during a ceremony Oct. 21, 2006.

“Kentucky lost a great American Tuesday.  Major General Billy Wellman was a mentor and friend since my early days as a captain when I served as his Aide de Camp,” said retired Brig. Gen. Norman E. Arflack, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner. “His service as Adjutant General, Justice Cabinet Secretary and State Police Commissioner had a positive impact on the lives of all with whom he served.  He epitomized professionalism in every aspect of his life.  He will be greatly missed.”

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OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY:

Billy G. Wellman was born in Ashland, Kentucky on May 29, 1933. Upon graduation from Ashland High School in 1951, he attended Western Kentucky University. The following year, he transferred to Morehead State University, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

He enlisted in the Kentucky Army National Guard in 1951 serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 149th Infantry until 1956. While at Western Kentucky University he participated in the ROTC program and was commissioned on July 10, 1956.

General Wellman was employed by the Kentucky National Guard on a full-time basis as Personnel Officer on November 15, 1957 and was appointed Staff Assistant for the 201st Engineer Battalion on October 1, 1960.

He held various staff positions within the battalion before gaining command in October 1968. He was reassigned to State Headquarters on December 7, 1969 to serve as Training Officer and later as Chief of Operations and Training.

He was appointed Executive Officer on August 25 1974 and advanced to Chief of Staff on September 1, 1975.

Governor Julian M. Carroll appointed him -to serve as thee Adjutant General of Kentucky on December 9 1977. General Wellman was reappointed by Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. on December 11 1979.

Governor Brown appointed him Secretary of the Justice Cabinet and Kentucky State Police Commissioner on September 9, 1982.

General Wellman was chosen by his peers to serve as President of the Adjutant General Association of the United States in April 1983.

Governor Collins reappointed Wellman as Adjutant. General on December 13, 1983.

He was a loving father and devoted husband. He treasured his friends and large extended family. His most precious relationship was with his Savior, Jesus Christ. He was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church having served on many boards in various capacities. He currently attended South Ashland United Methodist Church.

He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Betty Triplett Wellman of Ashland; a son, John Wellman of Ashland; a daughter, Marabeth (Terry) Kleczinski of Lexington; a brother, Charles (Lorraine) Wellman of Flatwoods; two sisters-in-law, Mary Ellen Wellman of Melbourne, Fla., and Helen Triplett of North Carolina; beloved grandchildren, Kaelyn and Tucker Wellman and Abbey Kleczinski; and a great-grandson, Nolan Wellman.

FUNERAL DETAILS:

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Steen Funeral Home Central Avenue Chapel with The Rev. Mark Gibbons officiating. Burial will be in Ashland Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Red Bird Mission Inc., 70 Queendale Center, Beverly, KY, 40913 or to Alzheimer’s Association Greater

Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter, Kaden Tower, 6100 Dutchmans Lane, Suite 401, Louisville, KY 40205-3284.

Condolences may be sent to steenfuneralhome.com.