Bill Kelley, 86

William R. “Bill” Kelley, age 86, of Sturgis, went to be with his Lord and Savior Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, following a hard-fought battle with COVID-19.
He was born June 3, 1934, in Sturgis, a son of the late Harold and Lilah (Lowing) Kelley.
Bill was a lifelong Sturgis resident and a 1952 graduate of Sturgis High School. He furthered his education at Michigan State University, where he completed an agriculture short course. In 1954, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he was a lineman working on telephone poles.
On June 9, 1956, he married Eleanor Studeman at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sturgis. Following his marriage to Eleanor, they ran a dairy farm for 13 years. Bill accepted a position at Ross Laboratories in Sturgis, where he retired following 28 years of dedicated employment. Bill had a never-ending love of farming and while working at Ross, he continued to farm with the help of his wife and children.
Bill was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sturgis and currently at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Burr Oak, where he taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School.
Bill was a member of Dairy Herd Improvement Association and volunteered on the Farm Bureau county board. He was a supporter of 4-H throughout his life as a member, leader and parent.
Bill was a very loving husband and father. He enjoyed spending time with his family, whether it was working on the farm, going swimming or playing volleyball. He liked to travel and made the family vacation an annual event. He was very special to his grandchildren.
He is survived by his loving and dedicated wife of 64 years, Eleanor; a daughter, Cheri (Jeff) Haney of Winchester, Ill.; three sons, William L. (Jodi) Kelley and Kenton (Michele) Kelley of Sturgis, and Lyndon (Jane) Kelley of Burr Oak; 10 grandchildren, Crystal (Frank) Holtom, Shawn (Chris) Kelley, LeeAnn (Karl) Kelley, Glendon (Kristen) Haney, Jordan (Kaycee) Haney, Cole (Katie) Kelley, Brenden Kelley, Jaylyn Kelley, Quinn Kelley and Eleena Kelley; eight great-grandchildren, MacKenzie, Mason and Machiah Lytle, Hayden, Elaine and Lily Holtom, Benjamin Haney and Chaz Whitsel; a brother, Larry (Marilyn) Kelley; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters, Mary Jane (Marlin) Taylor and Bonnie (Stan) Wheeler.
Private services and burial will take place at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis. The Rev. Kurt Kuhlmann of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Burr Oak will officiate. A memorial service celebrating and honoring the life of William R. “Bill” Kelley will be held at a later date, to be announced.
Hackman Family Funeral Homes of Sturgis is entrusted with arrangements.
The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in William R. Kelley’s memory consider St. John’s Lutheran Church, 218 W. Main St., Burr Oak, MI 49030; or St. Joseph County 4-H Livestock Association, 612 E Main St., Centreville, MI 49032.
His obituary is also atĀ, where relatives and friends may share memories and leave condolences for the family.

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