Robert J. (Bob) Kelley, Jr., 73, of Grants Pass, Ore., passed away on Friday, May 24, 2019. He was born on Oct. 9, 1945, in Cleveland, Ohio to Bette (Leinhart) and Robert John Kelley, Sr. and was the second of four boys. The family moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles in 1946 where Robert Kelley, Sr. was the announcer for the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams football team. Bob attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and Pierce Community College before being accepted into the California Highway Patrol Academy. He became a CHP Motor Officer, serving South Central Los Angeles. Bob also proudly served in the Air Force Reserves.
In 1975, Bob relocated to Atascadero, Calif. where his career shifted to custom home building. He operated Bob Kelley Construction, building over 200 homes in the North County during the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Bob also earned his real estate broker’s license and operated Bob Kelley Realty until 2017. He helped countless families and businesses build, buy, and sell homes on the Central Coast.
Bob was an active member of Atascadero politics. He served on the planning commission for more than seven years, was elected to the City Council in 2008, and also served as Mayor.
Bob had many talents and loved new ventures. He was an airplane and helicopter pilot, built a T-Bucket Roadster, was a member of the Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Team, transported donated organs by helicopter when time was critical, and collected any gadget and tool he could find to help with his woodworking creations. Bob never met a stranger and made friends everywhere he went. His storytelling and hearty laughter made for endless good times.
Bob married the love of his life, LaVonne Kelley, in 1980. He and LaVonne spent over 40 years together traveling all over the world, hosting the best parties and barbecues, spending time with friends, and enjoying each other. In recent years, they traveled in their RV with their little dog, Buster, and made friends in many states. He, LaVonne and Buster retired to Grants Pass, Oregon in 2017 where they bought a home on the Rogue River. Bob found great joy in sitting in his backyard, watching boaters, birds, and the beautiful scenery.
Bob is survived by his wife, LaVonne, his brothers, Tim (Barbara), Pat (Melody), Mike (Cathy), step-daughter, Jennifer (Dan) Hart, grandsons, Jacob and Tyler Hart, nephew, Ross Kelley and niece, Erin Kelley-Gohsler.
Bob led a life full of happiness and love. In the end, his big heart gave out. He had spent the morning enjoying his backyard and the beauty of the river. Although we wish we had many more years with him, there is peace in knowing he was doing what brought him joy right to the end. A private family gathering will take place in Grants Pass. Bob would love for his friends to gather for a cup of coffee or a beer and toast to the many years he was able to enjoy with them. Remembrances can be made to the Atascadero Faces of Freedom Memorial for upkeep and maintenance.