Hoyt Frank Kelley was born Jan. 21, 1923, in the small town of Thatcher, Utah. Raised in Providence, just outside of Logan, he was the middle of three boys. His father, Frank Kelley, a veteran of the Spanish American War, was the superintendent for the Providence Limestone Quarry, where much of the extended family, including Hoyt, worked. His mother, Clara, was a nurse at the local hospital.
Despite the Great Depression, the Kelley family prospered and contributed greatly to the welfare of the community. Hoyt was an outstanding athlete, participating in wrestling and football in both High School and later at Utah State University. His time as an engineering student at Utah State was cut short when the United States declared war against the Axis powers. In early 1943, during his second year in college, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was selected out of thousands of applicants for an elite Paratroops combat team, the 517th Regimental Attack Group. Serving as Staff Sergeant (S2) for the First Battalion, he was the Battalion's intelligence officer (HQ Company) and the right-hand man of Colonel "Wild Bill" Boyle. He served with distinction in a number of theaters of operation, including Italy, southern France (Operation Dragoon), Belgium (Battle of the Bulge) and Germany (Hurtgen Forest). He was the recipient of a Bronze Star
, three Purple Heart
s, as well as a Special Presidential Citation that was awarded to his unit for heroism in the Bulge.
After the War, he settled in California. Working in banking and finance, he worked for Pioneer Savings, rising from a starting position as a teller to become vice president of the bank. He was prominent in business and charitable endeavors, serving on the board of various nonprofit groups including the YMCA and the San Jose Symphony. For his charitable work, he was recognized as "Man of the Year" in San Jose, California. In 1962, he moved his family to Honolulu, Hawaii, accepting the position of executive vice president with American Savings & Loan. While in Hawaii, he became active politically, serving as chairman of the state Republican Party and organizing the 1968 Western States Conference. He was also active in his church, serving as stake mission president. In the late 1960s, he left banking to pursue a career in hotel and commercial real estate development, building the last high-rise hotel on the famed Waikiki shoreline.
In August of 2013 he returned to southern France at the invitation of the French government and was awarded the French Legion d' Honor, the highest military award given to non-Frenchmen. Since returning from France, he has spoken throughout the state of Utah about World War II
, the gratitude of the French people and the contributions of the Greatest Generation. A widower twice, Hoyt has a tremendous posterity, including seven children, 23 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren. For the past 20 years, Hoyt has resided in Logan, where he and his daughter, Kathi, started a sportswear company known as Poco Loco, where Hoyt, despite his 91 years, worked six days a week as the company's chief financial officer.
Funeral services will be at noon Saturday, July 19, at the River Heights 3rd Ward Chapel - 465 N., 300 East in Providence, Utah. Friends may attend a viewing in Hoyt's honor from 6-8 p.m. Friday July 18, at Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 E. Center St. in Logan, and prior to services from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the River Heights 3rd Ward Building. Interment will be in the Providence City Cemetery. Condolences and expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family online by visiting www.allenmortuaries.net