"There are no
ordinary people..."
C. S. Lewis

Joseph Michael Kelly

Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
Monday, March 20, 2017
Anacortes, WA
Service Information: 
A memorial celebration will be held at a later date. 

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.

Guestbook Entries

Submitted by Myra ONeil, cousin on

 I am so sorry to hear about Joe's passing. Sounds so unexpected and also a great loss to all of us. We will sure miss him this summer at the family reunion but Pat you are welcome to come it is July 15. My prayers are with all of you 

Submitted by Valeri on

Joe, I'll miss your sweet face and gentle heart. As I fill my bird feeders, I'll think of you and the many conversations we had about birds and our cats. When I'd bring a bag of bird seed to your car, you would always say, "watch your head," making sure I didn't bonk myself on the back hatch that had to accommodate your rack. Your innate kindness will be missed. Your visits with thoughtful comments always left me feeling better than before you came. I wish you much joy in your next adventure. Thank you for being my friend.

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