PEORIA - Peter Aherne Kelley, 61, of Peoria passed away just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at home with his family by his side.
Pete was born on Oct. 12, 1951, in Milwaukee, Wis., to Roger and Mary Gertrude (Keogh) Kelley. He married Janie (Grier) Kelley on Oct. 1, 1983, in Peoria, Ill.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his older brother, Tim.
Pete is survived by his wife, Janie, and their daughter, Libby Kelley of Milwaukee, Wis. Also surviving are his brother, Roger (Sue) Kelley of Lexington, Ky.; his brother, Steve Kelley of Kankakee, Ill.; his brother, Paul Kelley (Laura) of Chillicothe, Ill.; his sister, Mary Hoppe of Tampa, Fla.; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Pete attended Bergan High School in Peoria and Augustinian Academy in St. Louis, Mo., Wheeling College and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
As a young man, Pete traveled in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, China and Pakistan. He rode on the Marrakesh Express, followed parts of Marco Polo's trade route, and lived in Kabul for seven months.
Following these travels, Pete worked in Colonial Williamsburg. When he returned to Peoria, he worked in several restaurants, and then was most happily self-employed as owner and director of the original Waterfront Studios and Gallery in the Murray building. Pete eventually became a realtor with Commercial National Realty and Coldwell Banker for many years.
He studied and supported the arts throughout his life. His passions included skiing and skydiving, cooking (especially on the grill), following politics and the news, and collecting rocks and minerals. In later years, he loved being at home - summer nights on the porch or sitting by the fireplace with friends.
Pete appreciated beauty in nature and fine arts and excellence in design and architecture, but he also loved a good practical joke. He was an especially proud and devoted father and loving husband who also adored our family pets.
Pete was a risk-taker, defender of the underdog, had a tremendous memory, quick wit, and a talent for putting strangers at ease. He didn't often hesitate to speak his mind. Pete left too soon and will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
A celebration of Pete's life will be held at the Contemporary Art Center in Peoria on Monday, April 15, 2013, from 4 until 8 p.m. The visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. prior to the memorial service. Cremation rites have been accorded. Private burial of the ashes will be at a later date in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or the Illinois CancerCare Foundation.