Douglas Peter Kelly passed away peacefully at St. Mary's emergency room Sunday, August 30, 2020, following a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born September 11, 1945, in Decorah, Iowa, and grew up in Canton, Minnesota, where he attended school and graduated in 1963. Following graduation, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served his country from 1963-1967. Douglas was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in the 4420th Civil Engineering Squadron at Hurlburt Field, serving RED HORSE units in Southeast Asia and the SAWC. He was proud to be part of the Special Forces Operations creating airfields and training field officers for combat in the Vietnam War. He was a patriot and loved this nation dearly.
Doug spent many years as a business owner in the construction industry, employing and teaching many the value of hard work and the art of masonry. After 35 years in the trades, Doug became the Facilities Coordinator at Calvary Evangelical Free Church, applying his knowledge of buildings and organizational skills before retiring in 2015. Throughout his life, he enjoyed many genuine friendships and loved to have coffee, visit, tease, and "give a bad time" to those he loved the most. He was involved in youth ministries and had a passion for helping kids become their best. He went on four mission trips to the Dominican Republic, building churches for Iglesia Nueva Vida and sharing his construction knowledge and talents. He was also heavily involved in the construction of the Rochester Soldiers Field Memorial.
Doug also had many recreational interests and hobbies, including woodworking, coin collecting, and his favorite adventure of gold prospecting, traveling to Colorado, Georgia, Alaska, and California. He was a friend of Bill W and shared his story in meetings in the community, helping countless others live their best lives. He volunteered to host AA meetings for inmates at the Federal Medical Center for twelve years and met just last week for coffee with friends. His compassion for others' lives was endless. Doug attended Autumn Ridge Church and especially enjoyed the Wednesday men's group, where he met new friends and shared in fellowship.
In 1970 he met and married Rita (Wax) Kelly, and they celebrated 50 years of marriage on June 27, 2020. He was a family man and loved to attend his large family's activities. He rarely missed a gathering or event and would always be found visiting with the men, teasing the kids, or pulling up a chair at the women's table conversation. Doug's interest in family genealogy and his Irish roots drew him to tracking the family tree and traveling with Rita to Blacklion, Co Cavan, Ireland, where his interest and knowledge of the Kelly family expanded further. He enjoyed all sports, following his sons' college football careers from Kentucky to North Dakota and all points between, he rarely missed a home game. He also enjoyed following his nieces and nephews' sports, including wrestling, baseball, basketball, volleyball, and cheerleading.
Doug is survived by his wife, Rita, sons Adam (Laura) Kelly of Rochester, MN, Aaron (Stacey) Kelly of Duluth, MN, grandchildren Whittaker and Vivian; Eva, Fiona, and Olivia; siblings Marilyn Erickson of Houston, MN, Ladonna (Cleon) Brenno of Canton, MN, and Mary Faith (Lynn) Martinson of Monona, IA; sisters-in-law Donna Kelly of Cresco, IA, Carolyn Kelly of Harmony, MN, Vergene Kelly of Canton, MN, Peg Kelly of Albert Lea, MN, Lisa Kelly of Rochester, MN; and multiple nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mary, and brothers Frank, Leo, James, Paul, and Bob.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Autumn Ridge Church/Student.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Friday, September 4, 2020 at Autumn Ridge Church, 3611 Salem Rd SW, Rochester, MN. Visitation will be held 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Thursday, September 3, 2020 at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home 5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901 and one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Canton, MN with full military honors.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Kelly family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
Rochester, MN 55902
Rochester, MN 55902
Canton, MN, United States 55922
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Rita and Sons, Was very sorry to hear of Doug's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
Dear Rita, Adam, Aaron and families,
We were so sorry to learn of Doug's passing. We hadn't heard he was dealing with cancer. Doug was a great friend to us and to so many. We enjoyed his sense of humor and appreciated his many skills. His service to Calvary for many years was greatly appreciated. We also enjoyed many good times as friends, remembering in particular camping with the Jr. High Group at Noah's Ark those many years ago! Doug will be greatly missed, most of all by you, his family. Our sympathy, love and prayers are with you.
Dick & Sharon Bjerkaas
To Rita, Adam and Aaron, We were so sorry to hear about our neighbor and friend from two neighborhoods, 31st Street and Cummingsville. Doug and Rita were some of the first people to welcome us to Rochester and we enjoyed their company and watching their children grow up. We will miss our conversations with Doug on Country Road 129 which always covered many issues. May he rest in peace! Mary and Quint Lohse
My deepest sympathy to Rita, Adam, Aaron and the extended families. I always enjoyed Doug, he was passionate about lots of things, especially sports teams back when the boys played football at JM and then in college. I recall some great conversations and backyard get togethers back when we all lived on 31st Street. He will be greatly missed by many. Blessings, Bruce
Rita~ My son Erik loved his time with Doug on the missions trip to the Dominican Republic. I remember a bet between the two of them....if Erik would cut his long hair Doug would quit smoking. They loved to tease and challenge each other!!! I thank God for Doug's presence in Erik's life.
Such a beautiful tribute in the pictures and video- I only knew Dough for a few years but he made quite the impact on my husband and me. I called him BEARCLAW because of his enormous and strong hands. He was always with a cup of coffee and telling stories with funny quips. He raised two wonderful men which is a testament to his example. Our deepest condolences to the family.
First and foremost I would like extend my deepest condolences to Aunt Rita, Adam (Laura), Aaron (Stacy) as well as the rest of the extended family. As a kid I had the pleasure of spending time with Uncle Doug weather it was at Grandmas house in Rolf during summer or in Rochester during the holidays. When Uncle Doug was around there was always something interesting, unusual and no doubt fun happening. Uncle Doug you were real deal and you will certainly be missed but never forgotten!