William C. Kelly Jr. passed away on Monday, April 15, 2019. Funeral services will be at 11:00 am, Saturday, April 20, 2019 at LaGrone Blackburn Shaw Coulter Road Chapel with Dr. G. A. Roach officiating. Burial will follow in Llano Cemetery.
William C. Kelly, Jr. was born on May 14, 1928 on his grandfather's farm near Imboden, Arkansas in Randolph Country near the Spring River. His parents were Emma DePriest and William C. Kelley, Sr. His younger brothers were Edward and Jim. As the older brother, William was always known as "Jr." He attended school in Ravenden, Arkansas and graduated high school at Williford High School 15 miles north of Ravenden.
William grew up working on his grandfather's farm cultivating cotton ad corn and taking care of livestock. In the summer he, his younger brother Edward, cousins and friends swam and fished in the Spring River. Bill's grandfather was a CountyJudge who held court in his home and Bill got to occasionally watch the proceedings. In the Northeast part of Arkansas there were pearl-producing mussels in the rivers, and adults who would pay the boys to dive in the Spring River and collect mussels, hoping to find pearls. All the boys competed, hoping they would be the one finding a pearl.
William worked in Little Rock, Arkansas rebuilding railroad coal cars as well as working on river boats moving barges down the Mississippi. He joined the U.S. Air Force (then the Army Air Corps) in 1948. His first long-term assignment in the Air Force was at Kinndley Air Base on Bermuda Island as a Weather Technician in the Weather Service. There he took up golf which he continued to enjoy throughout his life. As a good looking 21 year old, the Bermuda beaches provided many contacts with vacationing Connecticut girls. (or so he says)
William was stationed throughout the world including Air Force locations in Japan, Sao Paulo Brazil, Iceland, Thailand and the U.S. locations where he enjoyed great experiences. He was in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He enjoyed being in the military and made life-long friendships during his career.
In 1957, while at the Amarillo Air Force Base, he met and married Madlynne Faughn. They were together for almost 50 years before her death in 2012. Together they traveled to Japan and bases in the U.S. Bill loved his cars: a 1955 Triumph sports car, 1957 Chevy, 1959 Thunderbird and several Ford Mustangs. As he became too old to safely drive, he gave his last Mustang to his nephew Mark.
William retired from the Air Force in 1968 and lived with Madlynne at their home in Amarillo, Texas. He then attended Amarillo College and received an Associate Degree in Electronics. He and Madlynne were a Breakfast Staple at the Calico County Restaurant for many years. They enjoyed traveling and once took Madlynne on a boat tour down the Mississippi remembering the parts of the river where he had worked as a young man. They attended the Air Force reunions meeting up with old friends he knew throughout his career. As somewhat of a perfectionist, Bill had some sort of project going on in his garage on a continual basis. He did carpentry work for his neighbors who stayed in contact with him even when he moved into the nursing home.
His mother, Emma, lived near Hereford, Texas and she and Bill spent a lot of time together before her death in 1993. Bill always had a garden and grew grapes in Amarillo, Texas. William spent the last three years at the Ussery-Roan Veterans Nursing Home in Amarillo. There he developed a set of new friends with the staff who eventually became his "family." That new family cared deeply for Bill and each one attests to his insisting that everything be in order; no clutter in William Kelly's room. The Ussery-Roan staff lovingly referred to William as Mr. Trouble.
The family would like to extend their sincere thankfulness to the staff at Ussery-Roan for the love and kindness they gave to Bill during his time there.