This week, we will continue our May series on Peabody’s service members. We will delve into the life, death and legacy of the Kiley brothers.

Photograph, Left to Right,
Roger Kiley, Ralph Kiley
(and the family dog)

Today, the Kiley name is mostly synonymous with the West Peabody school bearing their name.
However, there is so much more to the story of the Kiley brothers. Carl and Grace Galeucia Kiley, of 460 Lowell Street, raised their 6 children in Peabody: Dwight, Charles Kendall, Carl Curtis, Roger, Ralph and Elinor.

Cpl. Roger Gardner Kiley was born on June 1, 1920. He attended Peabody High School, where he played baseball and football. He married Phyllis Ackerson of West Peabody. He was working at General Electric when he joined the Marines. He would rise to the rank of Corporal. He was killed at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Ralph Dana Kiley, Seaman First Class, was born on March 16, 1922. He also attended Peabody High School. He married Mary Stanton of North Reading, and worked at Munroe and Arnold, Merritt Express Company before joining the service. In the fall of 1942, he joined the Coast Guard. He was a Seaman, 1st Class and served on the USS Serpens. His ship exploded near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific on January 29, 1945. Kiley was presumed dead.

Carl and Grace Kiley received news of their son Roger’s death from the below telegram on February 19, 1945. Later that same day, they were informed of their son Ralph’s death.

In 1947, to honor their sacrifice, the West School was renamed after the Kiley brothers. Below is an image of the dedication of the Kiley Brothers Memorial School site in 1955.

Telegram, February 19, 1945
Kiley Brothers, School Site Dedication, 1955

In the spirit of honoring Peabody’s service members, we will be opening our newest exhibit in the fall of 2021, “250 Years of Service: Peabody’s Veterans.”