Joseph Michael Kelly
Joseph M. Kelly died unexpectedly in his home on March 20, 2017. He was born May 15, 1945 to John R. and Edna J. Kelly in Anacortes, Washington. The family moved to Bellingham in 1947. He graduated from Bellingham High School in 1963. He earned a B.A. and a M.S. in Geology from Western Washington University. He worked for a few years in private industry as an exploration geologist, but eventually completed the requirements for a B.A. in Education, obtained his teacher's certificate, and then taught high school science classes in Coulee Dam. After 6 years, he moved back to Bellingham and eventually started a career as a refinery operator at Arco [now B.P.]. He continued in that capacity, as a valued employee, until his retirement in 2000.
Joe was a gentle man with many interests and talents. He loved nature. He and his sister Pat took classes through the WSU Extension program to become Master Gardeners, afterwards volunteering their time at the Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale. He loved wild animals, birds and fish, and was an avid outdoor photographer. He joined the Audubon Society and contributed to the Whatcom Bird e-mail list-serve. He enjoyed fishing and fly tying, and in the last several years became interested in building bamboo fly fishing rods. He served on the Board of the Wild Fish Conservancy for 12 years, hoping to improve conditions for Washington's wild salmonids.
He is survived by his sister, Pat Edwards, and a niece, Laura Edwards. Gifts in his name made to Western Washington University, the Audubon Society and Wild Fish Conservancy would please him.