By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Robert Kelley
Feb 24, 1941 - April 4, 2016
c29774 2

Robert Kelley was born on February 24, 1941 in Woodland, Louisiana and passed away on April 4, 2016 in Modesto, California.

Robert moved to Turlock at the age of nine. He graduated from Turlock High School, Modesto Junior College and California State University, Stanislaus. He worked as a senior inspector for the Stanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner & Sealer of Weights & Measures, for 30 years.

Robert was drafted into the US Army in November of 1963, serving for two years. He had just begun basic training when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and all soldiers - regardless of their level of training - were issued rifles as American forces went on high alert. 

In 1998 Robert was inducted into the Turlock High School Hall of Fame for his basketball and baseball skills. Always a very private man, he was surprised and deeply moved by this unexpected honor.

Titles and position meant very little to Robert. One exception was the title of Grandpa, which he relished. He cherished his grandchildren and will live on forever through them.

Robert and his wife, Karen, “hit the road” in 2005, traveling through many US states and Mexico in their RV. They enjoyed this lifestyle, and returned to the Central Valley each spring to visit their family. Believing they needed to “give back”, they served as volunteer park hosts at Stanislaus River Parks for eight seasons. They received Presidential Volunteer Service awards, gold pins and letters of commendation from President Obama for their thousands of hours of volunteer work.

Those years of travel gave Robert a new perspective on what’s truly important in life. He fished, watched the stars and walked in the sunshine. His was a life well-lived.

Robert is survived by his wife, Karen; children, Robert Kelley, Allen Kelley, Meredith Kelley and Greg Heck; six grandchildren; siblings, Chessella Holloway, Sylvia Coleman, Frieda Coleman and Rita Varble. Many nieces, nephews and cousins also mourn his passing. He was preceded in death by his father, Payton Kelley, mother Ida (Norwood) Coleman, stepfather Edward Coleman, sister, Louise Lee and brothers Eddie Coleman Jr. and Richard Coleman.

At Robert’s request, no formal services will be held. A picnic for friends and family will be scheduled at a later date.  Please share your memories at