Earl Harley Kelley (1929—2018)

ALLAGASH, Maine — If Earl were telling the story, he would say…. “the cancer played me out.” On July 28, 2018 at 12:35 a.m., Earl Harley Kelley-89 years of age-died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family and friends. He was born on June 13, 1929, to Harley and Elizabeth (Jackson) Kelley at the Head of the Rapids, Allagash, Maine.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary Louise (Pelletier) Kelley; and their children Mary (Kelley) Fitzgerald (husband, Warren Fitzgerald) of Dexter, Maine and son, Roger (Bobby) Kelley (wife, Connie Kelley) of Skowhegan, Maine; his granddaughter, Danielle; and great-grandson, Avery Earl; and grandson, Spencer; his granddaughters, Ashley (great-grandson, Sidon William), Alexis, Adrianna, and Acelia.

He is also survived by his daughters, Norma McQuade (grandchildren, Tammy, Adrian (George), Earline Ouellette (grandchildren, Jason, Jamie, deceased), Susan Prentiss (grandchildren, Bonnita, Kelly, deceased), and Marlene Williams (grandchildren, Angie, Sandy, Deana, Kylie, Jamie, Matthew); and their extended families. Earl is the firstborn of 13 children. His surviving siblings are Roger Kelly, Mary Hughes, Ransford (Pike) Kelly, Jimmy Kelly, Betty Jandreau, Henry Kelly, Rita Hall, Claude Kelly, Hilda Nadeau, Galen Kelly, Hope Kelly, and Lee Kelly.

At age 21, Earl was drafted into the army and served from 1951-1954 in Seoul, Korea, during the Korean War.

Earl had many loves. He loved his mom; he wished everyone could have met her. He loved his wife, Mary, whom he called “babe”. They loved to be at each other’s side-from working in the garage doing auto body to working in the house cooking, doing the dishes, and the laundry. With Earl’s witty sense of humor, he would even say, “Boy, we’re in an awful scrape down here cutting quilting material!”

He loved picking fiddleheads, berries, and hazelnuts. He also loved going for a ride in the North Maine Woods with his Vienna sausages and a pack of crackers, going straight to his favorite fishing hole.

We all enjoyed his passion for music. He taught himself to play fiddle and guitar; some have said they haven’t heard anyone play the fiddle like he did. His pride and joy was playing music with Bob and Cheetah (Mary). He treasured every precious moment with them, often playing one of his favorite, locally written songs, “Big Bill at Guy Kellys’ Store.”

To try to sum up, in a short story, the life of this man who has loved 89 beautiful years, would be to say… he was a MUCH loved son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and let’s never forget, self-taught musician. He will be missed by all who knew him. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Laura Kelly, Pastor Dik and Judy, and Aaron and Lori Moon.

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