Donald E. Kelsey, 97, a long time resident of Orchard Village, passed away at his home on Tuesday the 12th, surrounded by love and family. Born and raised in Buffalo, he attended St. John’s High School and graduated from Canisius College with a degree in Business Administration. Don had a lifetime career as a salesman with General Mills, residing in several locations before settling in Camillus in 1956.
He enlisted in the Army Air Force immediately after high school graduation and was stationed at Grafton Underwood in England where he served with the 384 Bomber Group as a tailgunner in a B17. His plane was shot down but Don was able to return to service and flew many more missions.
Don was an avid sports fan. He played basketball and football in both high school and college, coached his sons’ sports teams, and attended almost all their games or events; he watched virtually all sports on tv. His great passion in the last half of his life was golf. He took lessons, updated his equipment, and improved his game well into his 90s. One of his immense joys was to play at McConnellsville Golf Club, where he was a member, and to go out for lunch with his great golfing buddies.
His greatest pleasure, however, was his family. He was deeply devoted to his wife of 63 years, the former Joan Vance. Don passed away exactly 11 years to the day, and within 30 minutes of when his Joanie left this earth.
In addition to his beloved wife, Don was predeceased by his son Donald, who also passed away in 2011; his brother Harry; and his parents, Harry B. And Pearl (Remes) Kelsey.
Surviving are his daughter, Carol (Doug) Kelly of Chapel Hill, NC; and son Stephen (Gillian) Kelsey of Edgewood, NM. Don had five grandchildren: Megan (Kelly) Sandquist of Evergreen, CO; Justin Kelly of Glencoe, IL; Heather Kelsey of Sebastian, FL; James Kelsey of Poway, CA; and Mikaela Kelsey of Raleigh, NC.
Don had seven great grandchildren, all with whom he had a relationship: Callan, Anderson, and Landyn Sandquist; Mia and Isla Kelly; and Christian and Lucy Kelsey.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday April 19 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, 5600 W. Genesee Street, Camillus.
Don will be laid to rest at Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice of CNY and of the Finger Lakes, 990 Seventh North St., Liverpool, 13088.