Donald Wayne Kelley

Published 4:59 pm Thursday, July 20, 2023

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Donald Wayne Kelley, age 85, peacefully passed to his heavenly home on July 18, 2023, at his home in Athens, Texas.

Don is survived by the love of his life and his wife of 58 years, Susan B. Kelley.

Don is also survived by his daughter, Kathryn Kelley Dionisio and husband Tommy, his son, Byron Lindsey Kelley and wife Carley, and his four grandchildren: Katelyn Stevens, Kyle Stevens, Lucy Mae Kelley, and Maggie Sue Kelley.

Don is also survived by his brother, Dale Kelley, and his sister, Tammy Kelley. Don is preceded in death by his parents, Nona and Arthur Kelley, and brother Joe Kelley.

More than anything, Don loved his Lord Jesus Christ.

He served his savior as an elder, teacher, and benefactor, of many churches.

Don was a long-time member of Grace Bible Church, Athens, and he and Susan hosted a weekly bible study at their home for decades. Don loved to study the Bible, and he passed that love to his children.

Don had a brilliant mind.

He served in the U.S. Army from October 15, 1957 to January 15, 1959 where he learned to be a chemist.

He received the Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant on March 26, 1959 for meritorious service.

He was a successful entrepreneur and chemist who held several patents.

He developed all sorts of products ranging from fence post, to cosmetics, to fishing lures.

He loved to identify a problem and then invent a solution.

You can still buy products he developed such as Adam’s Flea and Tic Spray and Gulp fishing lures.

Don was the definition of “old school.”

He was always his own guinea pig when testing a new product.

For example, he knew that the final version of an insect repellant wouldn’t hurt your skin because this version didn’t burn his earlobes like the first 3 or 5 rounds.

Don loved to play golf and he made multiple holes in one.

As a Master Gardener, he loved to grow produce of all kinds.

He owned and operated a greenhouse business that specialized in tomatoes and ferns.

He later shifted his botanical focus to blueberries after his third grandchild declared that his berries were “yummy yummy.”

Mostly, however, he loved spending time with people.

He had many deep relationships because he spent his time thinking about and discussing deep issues.

He wasn’t much for small talk and you rarely had to wonder what he thought about a subject.

Next to God, Don loved his family the most. He would do anything to help his wife or kids, and he got so much joy from his grandchildren.

To them he was Mancaw, which arose out of his first grandchild’s early attempt to say grandpa. Mancaw stuck for the next 23 years. As far as we know, he is the only Mancaw around.

Don was generous with all of his resources. He was always willing to help a brother or sister in need.

God provided many kind people who helped him battle Lewy body dementia over the past few years.

The family extends a special heartfelt thank you to Sissy Roberts who faithfully served as caretaker, cook extraordinaire, and dear friend over the past several months.

She is a true blessing.

Don will be greatly missed by his family, but they do not grieve as others do who have no hope.

“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

Visitation for family and friends will be 5pm to 7 pm, Friday, July 21, 2023 at Autry’s Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home in Athens.

Funeral services will be 10am, Saturday, July 22, 2023 at Athens First Methodist Church with Bro. Marvin Keown officiating. Mr. Kelley will be laid to rest at Athens Cemetery.

Pallbearers: Charlie Rodrigues, Clint Stutts, Allen Boswell, Winton Lytle, Tommy Dionisio, Donnie Lewis, Kyle Stevens, Kelley Lee

Honorary Pallbearers: Hal Florence, George Chandler, Fernando Navarro

Celebration attire encouraged.