COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Earnest Kelley was born on Apr. 18, 1919. He passed away peacefully on Feb. 20, 2021, making him 101 years old.
Kelley leaves behind a incredible military legacy. He fought in World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam and the Pearl Harbor attack.
Besides being involved in numerous world changing wars, Kelley was incredibly full of life, caring and loving.
Kelley fell in love with his wife 50 years ago and they married only a short while after meeting, despite a language barrier.
They renewed their vows before his passing to celebrate their 49 years of marriage.
“We were thinking to get married on Valentine’s Day, but the papers didn’t come from the capitol, from Tegucigalpa, until the 16th in the evening.” said Kelley’s wife, Eva Kelley. “And then the attorneys say, well, tomorrow we’re going to marry you and that was the 17th.”
We spent time with the family as they shared stories of him running to grab the mail, dancing to celebrate his age, being kind to his neighbors and giving valuable life lessons.
Family member, Yoselin Ortiz said he was more than a military hero.
“He always gave you great advice, um cheerful, helpful, always scolding you when you were heading down the wrong path.” said Ortiz. “And telling you, you know, that no is never an option for you. When there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Kelley was honored for his service to our Country with Patriot Riders leading him to his final resting place and a Three Volley Salute.
His daughter, Mirna Kelley, stated her parents worlds revolved around each other.
“My dad’s last words that he said on this earth was: Honey, I love you, Happy Anniversary,” said Kelley. “Those were his last words on this earth.”
Kelley was officially laid to rest on Feb. 27, 2021.