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Joe Kelly of Boulder left this life on August 13 at the age of 68 due to bone metastases of prostate cancer. Born in April of 1944 Joe grew up in Kokomo, Indiana, and graduated from
with a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science. He went on to earn an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He was outstanding as an athlete, scholar, and community leader during those years receiving countless awards and recognitions. In high school he was most proud of being a member of the Indiana State Championship basketball team for his beloved Kokomo Kats. His most meaningful experience in college was joining and acting in various leadership roles for the Sigma Chi fraternity at Purdue. The mission and the brotherhood meant the world to him. He was honored as a Significant Sig in 2010 for his years of leadership in the fraternity at both the university and national level. With his endless energy Joe thrived during his career as a "business doctor" who worked with struggling enterprises or chaotic start-up companies to bring order and sustainability to their operations. Relishing the non-routine, he would move on to the next new challenge as soon as each one was stabilized. He and his wife Betty operated Kelly and Associates Inc., a consulting firm, for 25 years in the Boulder area. Joe and Betty were married in Ohio and later moved to Boulder in 1975. Service to community was important to Joe. He was always involved - as a youth sports coach, math mentor, school booster, neighborhood organizer, plus he contributed to an array of community projects. He was excited about all things involving numbers. Games, puzzles, commodity futures, stock market charting, and gambling systems delighted him. A quick trip to Las Vegas was his favorite getaway. Once a jogger, in later years Joe enjoyed hiking and golf. His goal became to break 100 by the turn of the century. He bested that goal many times by 10 points. Traveling and blending with other cultures was also a passion. He and Betty ventured to all 50 states, every continent, and over 70 countries. His preferred relaxation was to spend time with a good friend and a good cigar. As a tribute to his uncle, E. Lowell Kelly, who was a founding member of the Peace Corps, Joe and Betty retired in 2002 to join the Corps, serving 2 1/2 years teaching English in the public school system in Sevastopol, Ukraine. Over the last 20 years, Joe has also proudly dedicated his talents and positivity to the Kenneth King Foundation of Denver to make a significant difference in the lives of others. Joe leaves behind his wife and companion of over 40 years, Betty; three daughters, Sarah Kelly of Denver, Jennifer Bjornstad of Carlsbad, CA, and Nora Alonge of Granada Hills, CA; and their respective families. He is survived also by his sister Kay Noel of Kokomo, IN. The family will have a private commemoration. A tribute gathering will be held in Sept. in conjunction with Joe's 50th high school reunion in Kokomo. Joe left his body to Science Care of Colorado for medical research. To honor Joe, memorial gifts to fund research may be made in his name to the University of Colorado Hospital Foundation, 12401 East 17th Avenue, Mail Stop F485, Aurora, CO 80045. Please earmark for Dr. Elizabeth Kessler, Prostate Cancer Research. Unparalleled energy, enthusiasm, exuberance, and loyalty to friends and family embody Joe's spirit. Everyone who knew Joe has a fun memory of him. He lived to make people happy, which he achieved with effortless perfection. As he exits this life, with his last roll of the dice, he calls out "It was a good run!" And we can hear his signature "Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!" in the distance as he moves on.
Published in The Boulder Daily Camera from Aug. 16 to Aug. 19, 2012
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"Betty,I am so sorry to hear this. As you know Joe was my first "IT" manager at Cole National. My..."
- Jill Mack
"Joseph Rex Kelly was an outstanding human being. As a friend and mentor to me in Colorado during the..."
- Michael Evans
"My deepest sympathy goes out to the family. Did not know Joe personally, but knew of Betty and her..."
- Cathy LeDoux
"My condolences. As a Sigma Chi, I was priveleged to know Joe and work with him while working with the..."
- John Shepherd
"I had the honor or knowing Joe for 32 years, first as a boss, then as a friend and finally as a fellow..."
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