William T. Kelly, of Niles
April 5, 1925 — April 16, 2016
William T. Kelly, 91, of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, 2016 with his family gathered around at Woodland Terrace of Longmeadow in Niles following an extended illness.
He was born on April 5, 1925 in Hastings, Michigan to Frank W. and Gladys B. (Beck) Kelly, and was graduated from Hastings High School. He enlisted in the United States Navy, serving at Navy Airbases maintaining aircraft, and was a Veteran of World War II. He earned his Bachelor degree from Michigan State University (East Lansing) in 1950 and has continued to be a strong supporter of the Spartan Football program.
Bill came to Niles to operate the newly-built Sunoco Service Station, and later began to work with Morden Real Estate. He became a partner with the former Home Lumber Company, founded Kelly Real Estate, and helped develop several Niles area neighborhoods including Ballard Hills, Mission Hills, and Missions East, and built many private homes.
His military service led to earning his civilian pilot’s license and ownership of a series of private airplanes. He enjoyed traveling, logging all 50 of the United States, the Caribbean, Ireland, and Kenya and spent many winters on the west coast of Florida where he caught some great fish and enjoyed hosting family and friends.
In Niles, Bill was an elected member of the city council, a member of the board of the former American Bank (now Fifth Third Bank), a member since 1951 of the Niles-Buchanan Club of Rotary International, an R.I. Paul Harris Fellow, and an avid member of the Orchard Hills Country Club where he was a Champion of the C Flight. He was a strong supporter of his children, especially as they participated in the Niles-Buchanan YMCA swim team in the 1960s, and continued to support the youth of Niles as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
On July 1, 1945 in Hastings he married the former Mary Ketcham with whom he celebrated last July the remarkable Seventieth Anniversary of their wedding.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Kelly and their children, Amy (Richard) DeVos of Niles, Beth (Paul) Culp of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Patrick W. (Debra) Kelly of Davenport, California; grandchildren Michael (Michelle) Culp, Mary Katherine “Molly” (Shawn) Dunigan, Nicholas Culp, and Jessica (Sam Post) DeVos; and Bill’s brother, Patrick Kelly of Allegan, Michigan.
The funeral service for Bill Kelly will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles with the Rev. Edward Slate officiating and will conclude with the Veteran’s Flag Presentation and Taps by the United States Navy Honor Guard.
The family will receive relatives and friends at the funeral home on Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. Contributions in memory of Bill may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien Cass, Inc., 205 Broadway Suite B, Niles, Michigan 49120 or the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club, 732 South 11th St., Box 230, Niles, Michigan 49120.