July 27, 1976 - June 24, 2020
KELLY, Jeffrey Allen, 43, of Lebanon died unexpectedly at his home on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. He was born July 27, 1976 in Reed City, Michigan to William J. and Debra Jo (Hamminga) Kelly. Jeff enjoyed watching sports on TV and was an avid fan of the NY Yankees and the Chicago Bears. He preferred watching the games from the couch or in a booth at Outback Steakhouse. He cheered especially loud when the Detroit Lions lost, and would call up his sister Kris to jokingly console her. Jeff and Krista loved their rivalry. Jeff had a competitive spirit. He usually won, but was a gracious loser. Many evenings, he and Loretta would play Yahtzee. He claimed to be most skillful rolling the dice. He usually won, but if he happened to lose, he would concede he allowed Loretta to win one. They also played Scrabble. Jeff had a knack of forming words that could not be found in a standard Webster’s dictionary. Those questionable words seemed to add up to an incredible number of points, and their validity was challenged often. Jeff could often be found at his table in the garage drawing and painting. His best work was either ink or pencil sketches. If he could find a willing volunteer, he would provide them with a new tattoo. He rarely did stock tattoos. If Jeff gave you a tattoo, you would have an original design. No one ever complained about his free work, but no one hardly returned for more. Once was enough. He worked on his creation until it was finished - no breaks allowed, and no crying either. Food was his greatest pleasure. He was questioned multiple times about his hollow leg and metabolism. Described as “Jeff Boy R Dee,” he loved to create signature dishes and his culinary skills were very diverse. He’d make perfect corned beef hash and eggs over easy. Then he’d cook up some Ramen noodles. Ramen were a staple in his diet due to his incarceration. In prison, Ramen is its own food group. One of his favorite recipes was a mix of Ramen, tuna, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing and pickles. He loved to share that one. His best friends were two slobbering Boxer dogs, Allie and Bailey, “his girls.” He could get them to do anything. He taught Allie to play “dead” by pointing his finger and yelling “BAM”. Allie would find her bed and “die” in comfort - no hard floor for her. Bailey would do anything for him. His companions were always at his side. Despite his hardened look, Jeff had a gentle soul. He’d pick roses from their flower bed, ensure the bird feeders were always full, and make certain the dogs had cool water. He also enjoyed the yellow finches and blue birds that were always flying overhead. His gentle spirit is what children loved about him. He always took time to simply talk to them because they were important to him. His nephews Kody and Kyle always received a lot of good natured teasing from their uncle Jeff. The teasing was not limited to their clothes, athletic ability, or girls. Any subject was fair game. His little nieces had his heart. He accompanied Miley to Chuck E Cheese and rode the rides and collected tickets with her. Then they exchanged them for the genuine plastic diamond ring. With Kendra, he shared a fondness for gummy worms and bears and traded their favorite flavors during the movies he took her to see. He loved his in-laws. He respected Ray like no one else, and said he’d never seen a man so generous and hard working. He referred to Carolyn as “trouble,” but the only trouble she ever gave him was stealing at least one bite of his desert at every meal. Jeff and Loretta took many weekend trips together. Although Jeff did not drive, Loretta referred to him as her GPS - “Guy in the Passenger Seat.” He was the navigator and gave much advice to her on her driving skills, that wasn’t nearly as appreciated as he had hoped it would be. They made several trips to Michigan to spend time with Krista and Preston and visit his mom Deb in the nursing home. They always had lunch from Culver’s or Burger King. An especially memorable trip was one they took just after Jeff had tracked down his brother Travis, who had been displaced for several years from the family. Jeff found Travis of all places on Facebook. He was able to announce to his mother that Travis had been located. He was all smiles giving his mom this news. But the smiles turned to happy tears when Deb said, “I haven’t seen you for 27 years.” A visit from Travis to see Jeff and his mom followed shortly. Jeff and Loretta travelled to the UP in Michigan to visit his dad. They soon learned to wave at all the passing cars, just like the locals. He loved the peace and quiet of the lake and their little cottage. Their travels often took them on weekend trips to see concerts. They’d spend the night in a hotel and dine in a unique restaurant within the town. Louisville became their favorite venue. They always went to Doc Crowe’s for their burgers. To Jeff, a burger was better than a steak. He had a small circle of people he considered his friends. He was happy just spending time with those he loved, as he was a quiet, simple man. He never believed life to be fair or easy, but he always said he was just trying to be a little better than he was the day before. He was an encourager. You could always hear him telling you to “just smile.“ He leaves behind his wife of eleven years and soulmate, Loretta. She shared every heartache and triumph with Jeff through those years. He also leaves behind his son Daniel (Robyn) McGuffey that he loves; his sisters, Krista (Preston) Pike and Michel Kelly; two brothers Travis Gary and Dan Kelly; step mom Jo Kelly; special aunt JoAnne; and several nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. He was preceded in death by one brother Michael Stephenson. The family will receive friends 6 - 7 PM Sunday, June 28 at Stubbs-Conner Funeral Home in Waynesville. Funeral services will immediately follow the visitation at 7 PM on Sunday at the funeral home. David Dixon will be officiating the services. A committal service will be held at 9 AM Monday, June 29 at Miami Cemetery in Corwin. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, 6520 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309. During this difficult time, if you are feeling ill or unhealthy in any way, you are encouraged to pay your respects in alternative methods, such sending a sympathy card or sharing a memory through our online tribute wall. In addition, the services will be streamed live via the internet. If you wish to view the services on the live stream, please reach out to the family or to the funeral home to be added to the list. Condolences at www.stubbsconner.com.
KELLY, Jeffrey Allen, 43, of Lebanon died unexpectedly at his home on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. He was born July 27, 1976 in Reed City, Michigan to William J. and Debra Jo (Hamminga) Kelly. Jeff enjoyed watching sports on TV and was an avid... View Obituary & Service Information
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