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Kelvin "Kelly" Kelkenberg '68 October 8, 2021 11:30 AM updated: October 8, 2021 1:42 PM

Kelvin "Kelly" J. Kelkenberg
March 13, 1946 - August 2, 2021

Kelvin "Kelly" J. Kelkenberg passed away on August 2, 2021 in Duluth, GA, following a three-year battle with cancer.

Kelly was a retired United States Air Force Colonel, civil servant, and most recently he was a Duluth, GA councilman. Kelly was born on March 13, 1946 in Buffalo, NY, to Donald and Hazel Kelkenberg, and was raised on a dairy farm in Clarence Center, NY.

He attended Morrisville State College, completed his Bachelor's degree at Texas A&M University, and received an MBA at Eastern New Mexico University. Upon graduation from Texas A&M, Kelly joined the military and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the USAF. His military service included working as an Air Traffic Controller stationed at U-Tapao Thailand during the Vietnam War, and later as an expert on Emergency Preparedness. He ended his service with several military awards, including Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation, Air Force Commendation and several others. 

After retiring from active duty, Kelly worked in the private sector for many years, first in Kansas City, MO, and then in Buffalo, NY.

In 1989, he married Kimberly Helenius and in 1993, the couple moved to Gaithersburg, MD, where Kelly worked for the Department of Energy. In 1999, a job with FEMA took them to Duluth, GA. He retired from FEMA in 2015. Kelly was on his third term on the Duluth City Council, having served  for over a decade. He was active in and supported many organizations, including the Rainbow Village, the Air Force Association, the Reserve Officers Association, Military Officers Association of America, and American Legion Post 251.

He was honored for his service as 2020 president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association board.

Kelly was predeceased by Don and Hazel Kelkenberg  as well as Kerwin Kelkenberg.

He is survived by his wife Kimberly Kelkenberg of Duluth, GA; sister Kathleen Kelkenberg (Linda Washut) of Fountain Hills, AZ; sister Kyra Smith (Gary) of Palmyra, NY; daughter Mary Kelkenberg (Jim Joseph) of East Aurora, NY; son Thomas Kelkenberg (Stephanie) of Colorado Springs, CO; son Stephen Kelkenberg (Hillary Green) of Hamburg, NY; daughter Kathryn Hendley (Tommy) of Lawrenceville, GA, and by nine grandchildren, Tommy, Amelia and Lilly Kelkenberg; Penny and Nellie Joseph; Zachary and Abbey Kelkenberg; Elliott and Emory Hendley.

He is also survived by Penny Price (Robin Heiss), his first wife and the mother of his three oldest children.

Services will be held on August 26th at Duluth First United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Rainbow Village where Kelly served as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors.

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