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Life Story / Obituary
Michael "Mike" Francis Kelly lived a life rooted in generosity and kindness. Humble and grateful, Mike never required the spotlight, but rather found contentment in quietly serving those he loved to the best of his abilities. Regardless of life's trials and tribulations, Mike welcomed each day as a gift and was never known to complain. A devoted son, great brother, and loving uncle, Mike will long be remembered and ever so missed.
1977 was a year of excitement and possibility. As Star Wars opened in cinemas, the first Apple II computers went on sale. The TV Mini-Series "Roots" aired, while the first commercial flight Concord, NASA space shuttle took its first test flight, the Alaskan Oil Pipeline was completed, and the precursor to the GPS system in use today was started by the US Department of defense. In the midst of this time of innovation and hope, Michael was born on August 19.
Mike entered the world enveloped in uncertainty. Gravely challenged by kidney problems, Mike was welcomed as a foster child into the home of Roswell and Virginia Kelly who had fostered many times before. The Kellys had experience tending to children with medical issues and warmly enveloped Mike with love and support. In time, they adopted Mike, and he became a treasured sibling of Stella and Dan. The Kellys created a home rich in family traditions that included vacations to Deer Park Funland in Muskegon and trips to visit friends in North Carolina.
Despite being given a small chance of surviving childhood, frequent hospitalizations, and many surgeries, Mike defied the odds over and over again without a single moment of complaint. He quickly recognized the blessings in receiving a kidney donation while in 8th grade and another in 2012.
Mike was a happy kid. He possessed a great sense of humor and enjoyed socializing with others. He attended St. James School through 8th grade and graduated from West Catholic with the class of 1996. Mike liked participating in extracurriculars, cheering on the University of Michigan's football team, and was a devoted Detroit sports fan. He proudly supported the Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings. Mike also enjoyed listening to 80s Rock music.
A man who enjoyed the simple things in life, Mike relished in comfort foods, especially homemade mashed potatoes. He liked to watch sports on TV, play sports-themed video games, and the loyal companionship of dogs. A Christmas story was his favorite movie, and The Simpsons was his favorite TV series. He also found much delight in spending time with his nephews and nieces.
Eventually, Mike took a job at Great Day Grocery, which later became Family Fare. He found his work home in the meat department and moved out to the Allendale location. Sadly, Mike's father died in 1997. When his mother's health began to decline, Mike graciously moved in with her to ensure her good care. Never one to hesitate to give all that he had, even when he had very little, Mike tended to his mother with tremendous love, providing her with as comfortable of final days as possible. When she died in 2014, the loss for Mike was tremendous, and something he felt deeply for the rest of his life.
As time progressed, Mike preferred to be alone and isolated. On October 2, it was discovered that he had died at his home. Though our hearts are saddened by his sudden departure, we are comforted to know that he is free of life's challenges. We will also find comfort in carrying the best of Mike's legacy forward. In each moment we unhesitatingly give of our time and talents, lovingly tend to others, and enjoy the simple pleasures of a good meal and great music, we celebrate the many ways Mike gifted us. In doing so, we will keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Michael F. Kelly, age 43, of Grand Rapids, passed away on October 1, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roswell and Virginia Kelly; and brother-in-law, Mark Bellgowan. Michael is survived by his sister, Stella (Rex) Bartlett; and brother, Dan Kelly; nieces and nephews, Eric (Marybeth) Bartlett, Karen (Scott) Orr and Evan (Jennifer) Bartlett; and his great-nieces, Kristen, Elisabeth and Stella. Mike graduated from West Catholic High School class of 1996. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 AM on Thursday, October 8, 2020 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Kidney Foundation. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Mike's life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook.