Rex Lee Kelly | Passages

Rex Lee Kelly peacefully passed away on June 5, 2010.

He was born in Henryetta, Okla., to Carrie D Moore and Earl B. Kelly on Jan. 28, 1931. He eventually left Henryetta to attend the University of Oklahoma in Norman where he received his bachelor of arts and law degrees.

After college, he joined the U.S. Air Force as a JAG officer and was stationed in Washington state and Alaska.

He joined the Boeing Co. in Seattle in 1960 and worked there until 1968, when he moved to Southern California and Ohio to work for Lear Siegler Inc. He then spent a number of years as a turnaround consultant for small businesses in Pennsylvania and Northern California. In the middle of that period, he took a year off work and traveled the country with his family. They lived in a motorhome and sailboat and spent the winter in the Florida Keys.

In 1977, he returned to Oklahoma for a year to work in a private law practice. He then returned to the Boeing Co. and lived in Bellevue, Wash., until his retirement in 1995.

He and his wife, Barbara, enjoyed their retirement, dividing their time between San Juan Island, Kona and Palm Desert.

Rex was a true Renaissance man. He was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hiking, skiing, golfing, sailing and mountain climbing. But his true passion was fishing. He was just as happy on a yacht on the ocean fishing for the big ones as in a rowboat on a pond fishing for bluegill.

In the mid 1970s, he built canoes out of packing crates and designed down sleeping bags and down jackets with removable sleeves for his family.

Although he had no formal training, he was an accomplished chef. He also played a number of instruments. As recently as this March, he decided he needed a ukulele so he could learn a new instrument.

He was also an experienced traveler. Not only did he visit all 50 U.S. states, he traveled all over the world, both for work and for pleasure.

Rex is survived by his wife, Barbara Kelly, of Friday Harbor, Wash. He is also survived by his children, Lee Ann Kelly and her husband, Bryan Early, of Bellingham, Wash.; John Kelly of Bend, Ore.; Mark Kelly of Ballard, Wash.; Alyssa Easley and her husband, Jack Easley, of Yorktown, Va.; and Stacey Belkin of Shoreline, Wash.

In addition, he is survived by his grandchildren, Noah and Sarah Belkin and Maia Kelly-Early. He is also survived by his ex-wife, Clara Johnson; brother-in-law, Dwight Barnhart; niece, Elissa Barnhart; and nephew, Greg Barnhart.

His sister, Earlene Barnhart, predeceased him.

— Family of Rex Lee Kelly

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