Kelly married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Gene Burton, on June 23, 1957, at Boones Creek Baptist Church, Athens (Lexington), Ky. He and Barbara attended Athens School together from fourth grade to graduation. Kelly continued his education at Boise Junior College, University of Maryland at Gunter AFB, Ala., and attended St. Leo College at Langley AFB, Va., graduating summa cum laude from St. Leo College Campus in Dade City, Fla., in 1978 with a bachelor's degree.
Kelly entered the U.S. Air Force in August 1960 in Lexington, Ky., serving his country in hospital administration. He served at Mountain Home AFB; Goose Air Base, Labrador; Homestead AFB, Miami, Fla.; Gunter AFB Medical Design Center, Montgomery, Ala.; TAC Surgeon General's Office Langley AFB, Va.; Howard AFB, Panama; retiring from active duty as a senior master sergeant at Reese AFB, Texas, in 1984.
After his Air Force retirement he worked with civil service as the 366th Medical Group Readiness Officer at Mountain Home AFB and as director of quality management services at Petersen AFB and the Air Force Academy Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo.. He retired from civil service at the Air Force Academy Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo., in April 2000. He received several awards during his military career.
Kelly accepted Christ at the age of 17 at Boones Creek Baptist Church in Athens, Ky., and served his Lord wherever he was stationed. He served as deacon, Sunday school teacher, youth leader and building supervisor when Emmanuel Baptist Church was being built. His interest in church building began when the First Southern Baptist Church was being built in Mountain Home. He worked with the Texas Southern Baptist Christian Men's Building Association, building churches in Northern Idaho, Washington and with the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in Santa Clara Camp in Panama.
Kelly enjoyed fishing, camping, golf, watching sports and spending time with family and friends. His love for sports started during his school days where he played basketball all through high school and continued with squadron teams during his military career. He loved gospel music and attended several gospel festivals at Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo., and Glorieta Conference Center, Santa Fe, N.M.
Kelly is survived by his wife, Barbara, of Mountain Home and Meadview, Ariz.; two sisters, Goldie Clemmons of Mt. Sterling, Ky., and Ruth Brooks of Winchester, Ky., brother in-law Johnny Burton, his sons, Bobby and Jordan, Montgomery, Ala.; sister-in-law Virginia Ann Burton, Nashville, Tenn., and several nieces and nephews. Kelly considered Tonya Clark, Regina Smith and Justin Jones "his kids" and their seven children called him "Grandpa Kelly." He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and two sisters.
Leading the services will be Pastor Dale Kronemeyer, Meadview Baptist Church, in Meadview, Ariz.; Pastor David Howell, Emmanuel Baptist Church, in Mountain Home; Pastor Jim Gregory, First Southern Baptist Church, in Mountain Home; and Missionary Don Hayhurst, director, Treasure Valley Baptist Association, in Boise.
Kelly and Barbara split their time between Mountain Home and Meadview, Arizona. Kelly had a heartfelt desire to see the Meadview Church complete their new building. In lieu of flowers, and to honor Kelly and the love he and Barbara shared with their other church family, memorial gifts may be made to Meadview Baptist Church, P.O. Box 278, Meadview, AZ 86444.