Kelly Kerin passed away unexpectedly while vacationing with family members in Mazatlan, Mexico, on March 14, 2008. His enormous and gregarious frame, sense of humor and fun-loving human spirit will be sorely missed by his immediate family members, relatives and those near and dear friends that meant so much to him.
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To sum up Kelly's life in a few words, here is a daunting task, but a few highlights of his life will give cause to those who knew him, to reflect briefly for a moment on Kelly's life with a warm smile or just a good laugh; because laughter, arranging for the next party or rally with family and friends or a good visit, intellectual argument or political satire are really what Kelly was all about. He made a point to stay up on current events in the scientific, political and sports world.
March Madness was one of his favorites and he just loved to share the month with his dear dad, who will undoubtedly miss him the most. He could light up a crowd like none other.
Kelly was born the last of four children to Tom and Margaret Kerin of Great Falls on Aug. 9, 1955. He attended school in Great Falls, graduating from Great Falls High School with honors in 1973. He was on two state champion football teams for the Bison in 1972 and 1973. Kelly, himself, was a state champion discus and javelin thrower on the Bison track team his senior year.
Following graduation, he was accepted into the freshman class at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, earning a B.S. degree from UW in 1977. He was an avid Husky fan his entire life and fervently followed the Dawg's football and basketball teams with true loyalty.
Following graduation from UW, he ran a building construction crew in the Seattle area for a couple of years before returning to Montana in 1980 to pursue a degree in petroleum engineering from Montana Tech in Butte. He earned his B.S. degree in petroleum engineering, again graduating with honors, from the School of Mines in 1982 and went to work in the oil industry from 1982 to 1985.
In 1985 Kelly joined his brother-in-law, Dick Green, in the pet food industry in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area from '85-'92. Together they successfully created, grew and managed Pet Pros into five stores in and around the Puget Sound area. The business proved to be more successful than they ever envisioned. It soon outgrew them and they elected to sell the business in 1992.
Kelly elected to retire young following the sale of the business.
Kelly is survived by his father, Tom Kerin of Great Falls; sisters, Judy Green (Dick) of Eugene, Ore., and Susan Simshaw (Cal) of Vancouver, Wash.; brother, Rick (Mary Frost), of Bozeman. He also leaves behind nephews, Drew Simshaw of Seattle, Wash., Matt Kerin of Bozeman; and nieces, Kerin Green of Eugene, Ore., Maggie Kerin of Seattle, Wash., and Darby Simshaw of Vancouver, Wash.
His nieces and nephews idolized Kelly. Kelly had many near and dear friends that deeply grieve his passing. Everyone involved is desperately struggling to cope with his sudden departure from this earth.
A funeral Mass and wake service in Kelly's remembrance will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, March 24, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Great Falls.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Mar. 21 to Mar. 23, 2008