Robert J. Kelly, age 75, of Bridgeport, NE and formerly of the McCook area passed away Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Bridgeport.
Robert James Kelly was born at St Catherine’s Hospital in McCook, Nebraska on February 21, 1944. He was the son of James Raymond Kelly and Helen J. Schmid. His mother had come to town a week earlier because of winter weather. He was named James Raymond Kelly, a name that was changed by his father when the weather was clear enough for him to get to town. Bob’s dad didn’t was his son to have the same name because they might get the mail mixed up.
Bob and his older sister Gwen grew up on a farm in Frontier County, north of Indianola, Nebraska. Bob attended rural school and Red Willow high School, where he graduated in 1962. Bob was active in athletics all his years of school. In his senior years, he was on the football, basketball and track teams that won all three state championships, the first school to do that in the history of Nebraska school athletics.
Bob was active in 4-H, focusing on seed wheat and market steers for his projects. In 1961, 62 and 63 he won both the youth and adult divisions in market wheat at the Nebraska Wheat Show. In 1964 he won first place in the adult division, being too old to enter the youth division. In 1961 Bob won the State Wheat Show trip to the Grain Market in Chicago, representing Nebraska. Bob also raised the Grand Champion Steer at the Red Willow County fair at least twice.
Bob graduated from McCook Junior college in 1964. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1967 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Education. Bob completed his Master’s degree from the University at Lincoln in Agricultural Education in 1972.
Bob was united in marriage to Sharee Schick at the Methodist Church in Curtis Nebraska on August 30, 1966. Bob and Sharee adopted four children, Kim, Mary, Brenda and Mark. Bob and Sharee built their own log cabin on a lake near Doniphan, Ne, where they raised their children. Bob and Sharee were divorced in 2000.
Bob taught Voc-Ag at Howells, Nebraska and Central City, Nebraska. He sponsored the FFA organization and took many students to state awards. Bob also sponsored Youth Farmers Groups, working with young farmers to improve their farming skills. Bob coached wrestling in Howells, Ne and was very proud of his students who went to the state tournament.
Bob worked for the Far-Mar-Co, the nation’s largest grain cooperative in Hutchinson, Kansas, and Omaha, Nebraska. He moved to Doniphan, Nebraska to work for the Quaker Oats Company as field manager. Bob was the grain merchant for the Wood River Coop in Wood River, Nebraska. He opened his own grain mechandizing business in Eddyville, Ne with a friend and then was hired to be the Manager of the United Grain Corporation in Ord, Ne. When United Grain sold Bob worked for the Gordon Coop in Gordon, Ne and then Managed the Crossroads Coop Association in Sidney, Nebraska. Bob never had to really look for a job—each new opportunity came to him offering him a job.
Bob was active in his community. He was a member of the United Methodist Church. Bob served as the President of the Ord Chamber of Commerce and the Toastmasters Club. He was very active in the Nebraska Grain and Feed Association, holding several offices including State President.
Bob was an outgoing, creative, generous man with great leadership skills. He had a sense of humor that made everyone smile and was willing to pitch in to help wherever someone was needed.
Bob enjoyed hunting, bringing home a Boon and Crockkett mule deer one season. Bob loved his Harley Davidson Motorcycle and several other bikes and trikes he rode to the Sturgis Mortorcycle Rally. He enjoyed the occasional trip to Deadwood, South Dakota and enjoyed his time at his cabin in the Black Hills at Custer SD and driving the hills in his red convertible. Bob always enjoyed a good meal and a good drink with friends.
In 2006 Bob suffered a heart attack which led to brain damage. He lived in the Skyview Nursing Home in Bridgeport, Ne for several years, receiving excellent care from the workers there.
Bob was preceded in death by his mother and father, son, Mark Kelly, and brother-in-law Don Miller.
Bob is survived with love by his daughters, Kim Rios of Lexington, Ne, Mary Svajdlenka of Crete, Ne, and Brenda Kettler of Albion, Ne.;his sister, Gwen Miller of Culbertson, Ne, 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, 3 nieces and his special friend, Barbara Schlieker, who was his guardian and cared for him after his heart attack. Bob is also fondly and respectfully remembered by many friends, co-workers in all the places he lived and worked.
In His Name
C/O Carpenter Breland Funeral Home POB 476, McCook NE 69001