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He was born Oct. 30, 1933, in Oakview and was a 1952 graduate of Ventura Junior College. He was an accomplished French horn player and had a tenor voice of an angel. He served in the U.S. Army as a member of the 6th Army Band at the Presidio in San Francisco in 1954-55 when he was honorably discharged. Don earned a bachelor's degree in music from UC Santa Barbara. He earned a master's degree in music from University of Idaho. He served as drum major in junior high, senior high, junior college and at the University of Idaho.
Don married Shirley Libbey on June 26, 1954, in Las Vegas. He was director of music at Trinity Lutheran Church, First Baptist Church in Ventura, First Methodist Church in Redlands and Yucaipa Valley Presbyterian Church of Yucaipa. He was in charge of the 'Put Christ Back into Christmas Programs' in Yucaipa. He retired from the Department of Education in California where he worked as an educational administrative consultant.
He loved his family and enjoyed traveling, especially taking his family on cruises to Hawaii for his and Shirley's 50th wedding anniversary celebration and on a family cruise vacation to Alaska a few years later.
Don is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Shirley of Davis; children Lynda Stapleton of Sacramento; Laura Kelly and husband Kevin Kelly; and Nancy Klisiewicz and husband Paul of Davis. He is survived by grandchildren Kyle Kelly and wife Kim of Charleston, S.C.; Shaun Stapleton and wife Colleen of Chicago; Kayla Kelly, Taylor Klisiewicz and Megan Klisiewicz of Davis. Special additional family members are Kathi, Andy and Scott Amoroso of Martinez and Michael Reed serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. Also surviving is his sister, Marlene Reineman of Southern California, and Jean Kelly, widow of Don's older brother Robert E. Kelly of Simi Valley.
A memorial service is planned at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 23, at Wiscombe Funeral Home, 116 D St., Davis, with a reception immediately following the service.
I had the pleasure of working with Don in the ESEA Title III and Title IVC programs when I was in in San Diego County Office of Education. I never met a person more dedicated to the improvement of education for California students than Don Kelly. I admired the endless enthusiasm and energy he brought to the job. CDE was fortunate to have him represent them in the field. He was a great educator and a great person. I will miss him and his big smile. California is a better place for kids because of the work of Don Kelly. I thank him for that.
David P. Meaney Mar 26 2010 12:00 AM
So sorry to hear of Don's passing. Our deepest sympathies and prayers during this most difficult time.
Joe & Joanne Chiles Mar 23 2010 12:00 AM
Fond memories of a gentle giant of a man...the smoked fish, and special green beans he brought to office potlucks. A very moral and ethical man much respected by his colleagues. He has left a wonderful friendship and great memories.
Sandy Davis Polk Mar 22 2010 12:00 AM