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home : obituaries : obituaries
June 1, 2020

4/1/2020 11:27:00 AM
John 'Jack' Kelly

On March 29, 2020, John "Jack" Kelly passed away at the age of 84.
A celebration service will be held on Sunday, July 19, 2020, at the Business Arts & Recreation Center (BARC), 1012 5th Ave., Windom. The family would like everyone to gather at 1 p.m. and they will host a celebration of life service at 1:30 p.m., followed by an open house through 6 p.m.
As an expression of sympathy, the memorial contributions may be sent to BARC, 1012 5th Ave., Windom, MN 56101.
LaCanne Family Funeral Service of Windom is handling the funeral arrangements.
This verse fits the life of Jack: "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (Col. 3:23).
Jack was born in Pipestone on Oct. 2, 1935. Jack was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn; parents Ralph and Edna Kelly; siblings: Ellwyn, Cleo, Margaret, Steve, Jerry and Bobby; and grandson, Declan Raverty.
He is survived by his children: Kent Kelly and Nancy (Ozinga), Kimberly Kelly-Sommer and Steve Sommer, Kerry Kelly and Dave Koenen, Kristi Kelly-Raverty. Grandchildren: Forrest, Jack, Katie, Liam, Lizzie, Lauren Kelly; Cody, Kent, Josiah, and James Sommer; Jorge and Alejandro Koenen; Alexis and Tessa Raverty. And, great-grandchild Fox Kelly.
Jack grew up and attended Pipestone schools where he was a standout high school athlete that participated and lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track.
From 1954-1958, he attended St. Cloud State University and graduated with a teaching license. At St. Cloud State Jack lettered all four years in football, basketball and baseball.
After graduation, Jack started his teaching career in Windom where he taught industrial arts and physical education.
In 1961, Jack married Marilyn (Haugsness). Throughout their 53 years together they enjoyed a deep sense of commitment and teamwork. This is evident in their four children, grandchildren, great-grandchild, their friends and their community.
Jack loved nothing more than bringing people together to work on projects that improved the community - he was instrumental in organizing those projects. One of his proudest accomplishments was leading volunteers in building the Island Park baseball field. Other big projects were the bridge across the Des Moines river and the temporary walk bridge over the dam. His last project was landscaping the new Windom fire hall.
That sense of commitment and teamwork was also evident in his coaching. Jack relied heavily on his assistant coaches, was always open to guidance, trusted his assistants and always felt it was a team effort.
Jack built many things - but the most important thing was relationships as he was naturally curious about everyone he met and deeply cared about others.
His wife Marilyn was his steadfast supporter and she helped Jack to keep a balance in his life as she was a supportive and unconditionally loving partner. She also helped him learn to take time to be present with his family and friends.
Jack loved to work and his life reflected that. He was a teacher, an athlete and coach, landscaper, referee, volunteer and business owner. He taught for 35 years and coached for 25 years.
Jack initially coached track and football before he committed to his two loves: coaching baseball and basketball. He developed the Windom Peewee (developmental) baseball program and he coached and played for many years on the town baseball team.
In June of 1993 he retired from teaching and coaching and then spent 20-plus years as a landscaper. He refereed high school basketball, and high school and college football over the years - he was a leader and mentor to other football officials as well.
In addition, Jack volunteered as a fireman and EMT and at the BARC where he put his heart and soul into his work on the board, the landscaping and the building in general. Lastly, as a business owner Jack and Lyle Riebe co-owned the Pine Inn drive-in throughout their teaching careers, and they employed and mentored numerous Windom High School students as car hops and fast-food workers.
During his life, Jack was blessed with athletic and coaching Hall of Fame honors. As an athlete, the HOF for Pipestone and St. Cloud State University. As a coach, the HOF for the Minnesota Coaches Association (baseball and basketball), and for Windom Area High School.
He passed on his love of learning to his family and taught them the importance of human connection and hard work. He was a strong person and he had a big personality. He cared deeply for his family, friends and community.
God Bless the memory and legacy of John "Jack" Kelly - he will be missed.

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