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Joel Raleigh Kelley
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Obituary for Joel Raleigh Kelley

Joel Raleigh Kelley II passed away on the afternoon of Saturday, January 20, 2018, surrounded by family members who love him very much. He was born in Jefferson City, Tennessee on February 18, 1942 to J. Henry Kelley and Vilena P. Kelley. Both parents preceded him in death.

Joel is survived by his wife of 43 years, Mrs. Forrest F. Kelley; and their three sons, Joel R. Kelley III and wife, Autumn, Daniel E. Kelley and wife, Erin of Alaska, and David C. Kelley of Hawaii. His grandchildren, include Christopher, Phoenix, Scarlett, Susannah, and Josaphine. He is also survived by four siblings, Jo and husband, John Moncrief, Karen and husband, Roger Luna, John H. and wife, Carmen Kelley, Valena and husband, Phil Grundy.

Joel attended public schools in Dallas, Texas, graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1960. He went on to graduate from Arlington State College (currently UT-Arlington) in 1965 with a degree in Foreign Languages. He spoke Spanish fluently and was learning Russian when he fell ill in 2017. He loved linguistics and was particularly drawn to the works of Samuel Johnson, the famous English poet and essayist. Joel went on to complete a Masters in Education from UT-Austin. In 1983, he began pursuing a degree in optometry from the University of Houston. In his early years, Joel was an avid runner (before running was cool), and he enjoyed all aspects of nature while fishing and camping. He was a relentless reader and very passionate about subjects such as engineering, science, computers and electronics, gardening, aviation, art, and environmental issues. His many interests led him to work in different occupations, but he enjoyed counseling and teaching the most.

Joel will be deeply missed by all his family, friends and neighbors. A Memorial Service is to be conducted at eleven o’clock in the morning on Saturday, January 27, 2018. Dr. Craig Taylor will officiate the service at Willow Meadows Baptist Church, located at 4300 W. Bellfort, Houston, Texas 77035. Immediately following the service, all are invited to greet the family during the reception.


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