Gary Joel Kelly, age 83, longtime resident of Coupeville, passed away at his home on Monday, March 26, 2018, following a lengthy illness.
Gary (who went by “Kelly” or “Papa”) was born on Jan. 12, 1935, in Ketchikan, Alaska, to Joe and Marion Kelly. He was an adventuresome and innovative outdoorsman. In the 1960s, he built a two-story A-frame cabin in Index, Wash., with scrap lumber. This recently sold for $100,000. Gary was also a skydiver and instructor and was a stunt skydiving competitor and a stunt pilot. He was a restorer of antique cars and enjoyed jewelry making. He was also a gold miner and restaurateur in Liberty, Wash.
He is survived by children Michael Kelly, Robyn Kelly and Sherry Ginevra, along with two granddaughters.
Gary taught the value of being in the mountains and not taking life too seriously, loving jokes and humor. He will rest with his step-father and mother, George and Marion Smith, overlooking the family farm on Ebey’s Prairie at Sunnyside Cemetery. A celebration of life is being planned for early summer for family and friends to honor his memory. This will be announced at a later date. Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com