Douglas P. Kelly

Douglas Peter Kelly passed away peacefully as St. Mary’s emergency room Sunday, August 30, 2020, following a courageous battle with cancer.

He was born September 11, 1945, in Decorah, Iowa, and grew up in Canton, Minnesota, where he attended school and graduated in 1963. Following graduation, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served his country from 1963-1967. Douglas was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in the 4420th Civil Engineering Squadron at Hurlburt Field, serving RED HORSE units in Southeast Asia and the SAWC. He was proud to be part of the Special Forces Operations creating airfields and training field officers for combat in the Vietnam War. He was a patriot and loved this nation dearly.

Doug spent many years as a business owner in the construction industry, employing and teaching many the value of hard work and the art of masonry. After 35 years in the trades, Doug became the Facilities Coordinator at Calvary Evangelical Free Church, applying his knowledge of buildings and organizational skills before retiring in 2015. Throughout his life, he enjoyed many genuine friendships and loved to have coffee, visit, tease, and “give a bad time” to those he loved the most. He was involved in youth ministries and had a passion for helping kids become their best. He went on four mission trips to the Dominican Republic, building churches for Iglesia Nueva Vida and sharing his construction knowledge and talents. He was also heavily involved in the construction of the Rochester Soldiers Field Memorial.

Doug also had many recreational interests and hobbies, including woodworking, coin collecting, and his favorite adventure of gold prospecting, traveling to Colorado, Georgia, Alaska, and California. He was a friend of Bill W and shared his story in meetings in the community, helping countless others live their best lives. He volunteered to host AA meetings for inmates at the Federal Medical Center for twelve years and met just last week for coffee with friends. His compassion for others’ lives was endless. Doug attended Autumn Ridge Church and especially enjoyed the Wednesday men’s group, where he met new friends and shared in fellowship.

In 1970 he met and married Rita (Wax) Kelly, and they celebrated 50 years of marriage on June 27, 2020. He was a family man and loved to attend his large family’s activities. He rarely missed a gathering or event and would always be found visiting with the men, teasing the kids, or pulling up a chair at the women’s table conversation. Doug’s interest in family genealogy and his Irish roots drew him to tracking the family tree and traveling with Rita to Blacklion, Co Cavan, Ireland, where his interest and knowledge of the Kelly family expanded further. He enjoyed all sports, following his sons’ college football careers from Kentucky to North Dakota and all points between, he rarely missed a home game. He also enjoyed following his nieces and nephews’ sports, including wrestling, baseball, basketball, volleyball, and cheerleading.

Doug is survived by his wife, Rita, sons Adam (Laura) Kelly of Rochester, MN, Aaron (Stacey) Kelly of Duluth, MN, grandchildren Whittaker and Vivian; Eva, Fiona, and Olivia; siblings Marilyn Erickson of Houston, MN, Ladonna (Cleon) Brenno of Canton, MN, and Mary Faith (Lynn) Martinson of Monona, IA; sisters-in-law Donna Kelly of Cresco, IA, Carolyn Kelly of Harmony, MN, Vergene Kelly of Canton, MN, Peg Kelly of Albert Lea, MN, Lisa Kelly of Rochester, MN; and multiple nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mary, and brothers Frank, Leo, James, Paul, and Bob.

Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Friday, September 4, 2020 at Autumn Ridge Church, 3611 Salem Rd SW, Rochester, MN. Visitation will be held 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Thursday, September 3, 2020 at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home 5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901 and one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Canton, MN with full military honors.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Kelly family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit

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