Celebration of Life
Sunday August 21st, 2022
1:00pm - 6:00pm
Order Flowers now for guaranteed delivery before Robert's visitation.
Robert George Kelly
Rob was born Oct 7, 1948, to John (Jack) and Barbara Kelly, when the family lived in Parma MI, where dad owned and operated his first onion farm. Over the years our family moved to several locations (Jackson MI, West Palm Beach FL, Gun Lake MI, and Winnetka ILL) until finally settling in Plainwell MI where Rob and his five sisters grew up.
Rob was a boy scout and served as an altar boy at St. Margaret’s in Otsego MI where our family attended church. He enjoyed swimming in our pool, especially after cutting the grass with the push mower on all three lawns surrounding our house. He also enjoyed downhill skiing, playing golf and football. During High School Rob excelled in Auto Shop and acquired his first job at the Standard Station just down our street. Rob graduated from Plainwell High in 1966, during which one year was spent at Military School. Following graduation Rob enlisted in the Navy, and joined the SeaBees Naval Construction Battalion. He operated and maintained heavy equipment and served from 1968 – 1970, with his last year in Vietnam. After an honorable discharge Rob lived in Kalamazoo MI and worked for GM for a few years. He then drove a large delivery truck for Hybels Produce. A box full of strawberries, bananas, apples and cukes on the seat next to him for the long ride.
Rob loved being warm and traveled to Maui, Haiti and Arizona with friends. He then opened a cactus shop in downtown Kalamazoo with a partner for a short time. Rob loved classic rock and the blues. He went to many concerts in the 70’s – 90’s, often buying tickets for family and friends. If you put on a good album, he would pull out his harmonica and play along. He enjoyed riding his Harley, his bicycle and playing golf, but Rob’s real passion was watching sports. He always looked forward to attending the Tigers and Lions games in Detroit, and drove his RV down to Lakeland FL to watch the Tigers spring training several times. He also parked the RV inside the grounds at Martin US 131 Dragway to experience the races from the comfort of his own home. Rob enjoyed bird hunting with our dad throughout the years. Once they took dad’s two Springer Spaniels (Pat and Mike) up into Canada for the dogs first hunting trip. Against Rob’s advice, dad let the dogs off the leash. They ran away and never came back.
After becoming a vegetarian Rob used our father’s knowledge of farming to successfully compost, plant and cultivate organic vegetable gardens everywhere he lived NE of Plainwell. His Silver Queen sweet corn remains till this day unequaled. In the early 80’s Rob lived with mom at Lake Doster and worked at Lake Doster Golf Club in maintenance, operating and repairing equipment until he started his own business, RK Excavating. Rob had vision and loved moving the earth to create beautiful landscaping. In the mid 80’s, following in dad’s steps, Rob developed a small community in Orangeville MI and built his first home by a peaceful stream.
Remaining a bachelor, Rob’s closest companions were his dogs (Pooka-St Bernard, Bojangles-Irish Setter, Sire-German Shepherd, McBire-German Shepherd. He took them everywhere and if you saw a pickup around town with a big dog in the back it was probably Rob’s. The last three years Rob’s furry companion was a cat he rescued and named Mouser.
Rob died suddenly at his latest residence in Plainwell MI April 1, 2022. He had received Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior years before. Preceding Rob and welcoming him into heaven are his parents Jack and Barbara Kelly, his sister Mary Dunn, and sister Christina Langkamp. Remaining this side of heaven are sisters Bobbi Willis, Jacqueline Eckert, and Colleen (Ginger) Salton.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate
There will be a private interment service held at Fort Custer in Battle Creek MI for the family. There will be a Celebration of Life in Rob's honor for family and friends Sunday, August 21, 2022, from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Bay Pointe Woods in Shelbyville, MI on Gun Lake. Some cottages and hotel rooms are on hold at Bay Pointe until June 21. Please contact the office to reserve lodging under the "Kelly party". www.baypointeinn.com, Phone 269-672-8111.
While at www.amsfuneralhomes.com please take time to sign Robert’s guestbook and/or share a memory with his family.
The Kelly family is being cared for by the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes and Cremation Society, 120 S. Woodhams Street, Plainwell, MI 49080. 269-685-5881.
I'm sad to hear of the passing of Rob. I look back to our childhood years with fond memories of the strong connection of our two families and wish I had made the effort to stay connected. My memory of the times Rob and I spent together on the farm in Parma and at the family home in Plainwell give me confidence that he remained the kind and gentle soul I remember. My sincere thoughts of love, sympathy, peace and kindnesss for the family.
David Gregersen Jun 19 2022 10:36 AM
Sending love and condolences to the Kelly family. Am so grateful for the memories. Rob was a good friend. Loved golfing, 4th of July fireworks, travel. So miss those in family who have gone and look forward to heaven reuniting us all.
catherine Williams Apr 30 2022 12:16 PM
Dear family, and Rob, my history with Rob goes back somewhere around 50 years, though I really can't remember exactly how we met, as lots of memories back then are somewhat fuzzy. We also share the same birthyear. All I can add is what a strange, beautifull, wonderfull trip it was, so many years spent as part of a counter culture that we cherished and lived to its fullest. I probably shouldn"t share some of the stories, since I don"t know if the statue of limitations expired on some of the adventures back in the 70"s! What a grand time it was. A few memorable legal times included an Allman Brothers concert at the Chicago Stadium during their pinnacle years. Another was a Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon concert at Detroit's Olympia Stadium on a hot summers night where we were camped out in a box at the top. Football, basketball, and baseball games - we led a full life. I was close to Rob during his last months, and could see the deterioration he was experiencing. I just could'nt imagine the end was near, so goes life! Rest in peace brother. Randy
Randall Barz Apr 28 2022 10:38 AM
I so sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers to all of you
Shelly Langkamp Apr 25 2022 6:07 PM
Sending my love to all of the family. What a wonderful loving family he was blessed with. ❤️
Kim Nolan Apr 24 2022 9:32 PM
Saddened to learn of this. When it first appeared on- line wasn't sure if this was a classmate of 67'. Waited for further confirmation. Remember his parents/family lived on Prince Street and could be seen at the end of Melrose Avenue. Gone much too soon. I recall Bob won a stuffed animal around the time of Plainwell festival days. It was a dog with fluffy ears & wonderful realistic fur. Bob kept stroking the soft fur as if he really loved this stuffed toy, yet he came to my parents home I believe and gave me that stuffed dog. (Would have to look among my stored plastic bins, but I may still have it). Bob had a kind heart. My condolences to his family.
Mrs. Jim Hewitt (Patti Khodl) Apr 23 2022 12:07 PM