Don Ray Kelly
June 7, 2023
Don Ray Kelly
Three Forks, Montana
July 1, 1938 - May 17, 2023
Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God Almighty
All thy works shall proclaim thy name
In Earth and Sky and Sea
With a song written on his heart, Don Ray Kelly was welcomed to this Earth by Paul and Pauline Kelly on July 1, 1938 in Tucson, AZ. He spent his youth alongside his brothers Gene and Scott. enjoying times at the family drug store, pulling sodas. Don enjoyed playing all sorts of sports as a young boy as well.
Don's 21 year marriage to Jean Williams welcomed his 5 children DeLynn, Angie, Todd, Ty and Jassen; who affectionately knew him as "Daddy". Don raised his young family by the words of 2 Timothy 3:16-17. His words will always echo in their hearts and minds, "Get up! You gotta go to church!". Don not only encouraged them to go to church, he showed them how to be the church. He sponsored a young Vietnamese Immigrant family, The Doan's, and for years he celebrated their successes as new Americans with love and support. He was also a supporter and champion of Mount Dora Children's Home. The family enjoyed Don's work to develop Emerald Lake Beach Club, and time spent together there.
Don was always a hard working man, and it was work that took him to Montana, where he met a young widow, Marlene Martin Walker. They were married on February 15,1980. This union added Lori, Larry, Lonny and Lynae to the family.
Don's entrepreneurial spirit led to the creation of Kelly Bait Company and Body Comfort-an adjustable bed and massage chair company, with technology ahead of its time. Life and work took Don and Marlene to Bradenton, FL, Sevierville, TN, Culbertson, MT and finally Three Forks, MT. They enjoyed international travels to Germany and Japan together, as well as regular trips to Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Eastern Montana and Colorado to visit dear family and friends.
Don's proudest accomplishments would definitely include building a variety of things and working hard. He worked to build a large family. He was known as Papa to 9 Grandkids and 16 Great Grandkids on the Kelly side and 11 Grandkids and 18 Great Grandkids on the Walker side. He oversaw the construction of the Three Forks Church of Christ building, as well as a full addition to their Three Forks home to entertain numerous family and friends over the years. Don always kept busy, with many hobbies and interests. He had a passion for hunting. You couldn't spend much time with Don without hearing a story or two of his hunting adventures and seeing his collection of photos. He was thrilled to make a brief debut on the DIY Hunter's Youtube Channel. Don was active in the Men's Ministry with the Church of Christ in Montana, attending many retreats and lectureship series. He enjoyed watching sports at home in the "TV Room" and listening to music and the Bible on his Ipod. And to the end of his days, his pitch pipe wasn't far from his heart, as he was known for his songleading abilities and strong bass voice.
Don was loved and cared for at home until the very end of his life on this earth by his loving wife Marlene Kelly, as well as several children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was gently escorted by a host of angels to the gates of Heaven to sing the "Wonderful Words of Life" on May 17, 2023.
A very special thank you to Stillwater Hospice for their gentle support and Dominic Balzer for his kind "befriending" of Don and Marlene over the past few months. And a kind thank you from the family to all of those who were the hands and feet of Christ in this season to Don and Marlene.
Don leaves behind his loving wife, Marlene Kelly as well as his children, DeLynn Stroup, Angie Smith, Todd Kelly, Ty (Lynn) Kelly and Jassen(Sharon) Kelly, and all of their children-Kelli (Chris) Simpson, Christopher (Jacklyn) Smith, Christi Smith, Katie (Dustin) Stevens, Megan (Cole) Spurgeon, Ashley Kelly, Logan Kelly, Amanda (Chris) Blackburn, and Michelle (Jonathon) Watson, along with 16 Great Grandchildren. He also leaves behind Marlene's children, Lori (Neil) Cadwell, Larry Walker & Lisa Walker, Lonny (Carrie) Walker and Lynae (Ricky) King and all of their children, Kisti (John) Felps, Gena (Andy) Johnson, Brynn (Derek) Turcotte, Kira (Sean) Gifford, Hunter (Lindsey) Walker, Cameron Walker, Tiffani Lang, Britt Lang, Emmy (Rob) Kitts, Chloe(Michael) Walker & Gabe Walker–along with 18 Great Grandchildren. He leaves behind a special friend, Scott Jenkins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Pauline Kelly, his brother Gene Kelly, sons-in-law Ralph Stroup and Donald Smith, as well as dear friends Phil Cadwell and Randy Flint.
Services are scheduled for June 8 at 2 p.m. at the Three Forks Church of Christ.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Mount Dora Children's Academy. (https://www.mdchome.org/) or Mountain States Children's Home (https://www.msch.org/)
And with a hearty pat on the back, may you remember the words of Don Kelly: "God Bless You and Keep on Keepin' On!"