July 12, 1947 — December 1, 2019
Robert E. Kelly Jr., best known as Joe, was born in Prairie City, Oregon, on July 12, 1947, to Robert Edward Kelly and Melba Devon Burnside (Kelly). On Sunday, December 1, Joe passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family.
Joe lived in Monument and Long Creek, Oregon, through the eighth grade when his family moved to Umatilla, Oregon. In 1965, Joe graduated from Umatilla High School and then in 1969 from Blue Mountain Community College with an Associate of Science degree in accounting and business.
In high school, Joe played football, basketball, and baseball. Joe excelled as a catcher in baseball, his favorite position. Joe hit many triples that would have been home runs in any other park with a fence.
On March 12, 1966, Joe married the love of his life, Terri Roberts. Joe and Terri were inseparable for more than 53 years.
Joe loved life itself along with hunting, fishing, camping and running. Joe ran several marathons and always talked of the “runner’s high.” He absolutely loved the outdoors.
In June 1969, Joe went to work for First National Bank as part of the training program. Joe worked his way up and held many titles including operations officer, real estate loan officer, and assistant manager. In 1979, Joe went to work for Pendleton Truss and Lumber, where he became manager. In 1987, Joe went to work for Wheatland Insurance. Then in 1998, Joe and Terri opened up Kelly Lumber Supply, which is still a successful business due to Joe’s business experience, charisma, and ability to strike up a genuine conversation with anyone who walked through the door.
Joe was a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. Was the first president of the Optimist Club, which is now known as the Pendleton City Club. He was a board member of the Pendleton Little League and Babe Ruth Association as well as a committee member of the local chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Joe also volunteered for many years with American Legion, Little League and the Pendleton Round-Up Association.
Joe is survived by his wife, Terri, and two sons, Sean (Heidi) and Jason (Kristi), of whom he was so proud. If you knew Joe, you also knew he couldn’t brag enough about his four grandchildren, Jaden Villa, Cetch Kelly, Ronan Kelly and Neela Kelly. Joe is also survived by his sister, Brenda McGirr, two brothers, Patrick Kelly and Matthew (Jean) Kelly, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.
Memorial service will be held on December 12 at 2:30 p.m. at Pendleton Pioneer Chapel, Folsom-Bishop. A celebration of life will be held in June of 2020.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to OHSU Alzheimer’s Research Center of your favorite charity.
Online condolences may be sent to www.pioneerchapel.com.