He was born on July 1, 1944, in Le Mars, the son of Judge James Pearce Kelly and Helen (Reidy) Kelley. John earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, and had just finished his first year of law school when he was invited to serve his country in the Vietnam conflict. He was wounded in action, earned a Purple Heart and returned to live in Baltimore, Md. John moved to Madison in 1987, and worked at Brennan's Country Market and then Neesvig Purveyors. Most recently, he was a valued employee of Monona Catering at the Monona Terrace Convention Center until his illness forced him to retire in January 2007.
Although John said he would have preferred to be the president of Tahiti, he truly loved his job and the people he worked with at Monona Catering. John was the best crossword puzzler in his family (east of the Mississippi), an avid Iowa Hawkeyes and Baltimore Orioles fan and was punctual to a fault. He enjoyed vacations in Jamaica and his friends at the Villa Tap.
John took immense pride in his relationship with his children, and was a constant presence at their graduations, sporting events, school and church activities. Thus it was a special blessing that after all the support and love he showed them, all of his children were able to spend time with John during his illness and at the HospiceCare Center.
John is survived and will be deeply missed by his children, Christopher Brook Kelley of Baltimore, Md., Francis Pearce Kelley and Eileen Mayhew Kelley of New Berlin, Wis.; his ex-wife, Susan (Nick Vollendorf) Kelley of New Berlin, Wis.; his siblings, James (Cec) Kelley of Lincoln, Neb., Michael (Dorothy) Kelley of Des Moines, Nora (Fred Hegeman) Kelley of Amsterdam, Wis., Mary (Michael Brown) Kelley of Dubuque, Iowa, Ann (Vijay Pillai) Kelley of Arlington, Texas, and Patrick (Halina Wojnicz) Kelley of Oakland, Calif.; his cousins, Sue (Michael McManus) Brightheart, Charles (Jane) Lentz, Walter (Susan Nixon) Lentz, William (Sara) Lentz, Mary (Kelly Murphy) Lentz, Christopher (Leslie) Lentz, Thomas (Barbara) Lentz, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 16, at 2 p.m., at Gunderson East Funeral Home, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, Wis. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 1 p.m. until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Friends of Camp Anokijig, W5639 Anokijig Lane, Plymouth, Wis. 53073.
The family is grateful to all of the caregivers at UW Health Radiotherapy and Oncology departments and HospiceCare Center, with special thanks to Cathy Eastman and Kathy Ginn for their extraordinary care and kindness. 16 Across: Like Wayne with O'Hara (11 letters).