On Feb. 10, 2014, after a long and valiantly-fought battle with leukemia, Frederick Charles Kelley (Fred) passed away at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.
The Guest Book is expired.
Born on June 12, 1950 to Charles Byron Kelley and Evelyn (Rice) Kelley, Fred attended local Shelburne schools and graduated from Arms Academy with the Class of 1968. While at Arms Academy, he was a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and was awarded the "Silver A" for good citizenship. He also attended and received an associate degree from the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture.
Fred lived most of his life at the family farm on South Shelburne Road in Shelburne. As a young man, he worked on the home farm and at a number of local farms, including Hawks Farm in Shelburne, the Smiaroski and Yazwinski farms in Deerfield and the UMass farm in Amherst. More recently, he worked at Apex Orchards in Shelburne, where his helpful and friendly manner was appreciated by customers and fellow workers alike. Fred stayed on the family farm and cared for his parents and Uncle and Aunt in their elder years.
Fred was quite active in civic affairs. He served in the Massachusetts National Guard for a number of years in the 70s and 80s. He had been a member of the Shelburne Congregational Church and a member of the Shelburne Grange. He was a volunteer for the Greenfield Energy Park, and he served as president of the Sons and Daughters of Hawley for several years. In 1999, the Western Mass Agricultural Fairs Association named Fred as "Outstanding Fair Volunteer" for his many years of service to the Shelburne Grange Fair.
Having grown up on a small farm in the 1950s, amongst a large extended family, Fred was wholly conversant with the rural manners and customs of an earlier, simpler time. He was a great advocate for conservation of all types, especially the conservation and preservation of farmland and the farming way of life. In his purchases, he made a special effort to buy items "Made in the USA" and he decried those consumption-driven, "throw-away" aspects of modern society that he viewed as being unsustainable.
History, particularly that of the local area, was very important to Fred, and he was a regular attendee at historical society meetings around Franklin County. A deep-rooted Yankee himself, Fred's ancestors (Rice, Hawks) were among the earliest settlers of the towns of Deerfield and Conway, and he was very knowledgeable about the old families and early history of this area. He was also a regular attendee at the Memorial Day services at Arms Cemetery in Shelburne Falls, and was instrumental in having the recitation of "General Logan's Orders" reinstated into the Memorial Day program after a brief lapse. As is the case with the rest of the Kelley family, he had a strong sense of legacy, and he always felt extremely indebted to his great grandfather, Charles Adams Kelley, who as an under-age soldier serving in the Civil War with the 10th Vermont Regiment, nearly lost his life in the Battle of Cedar Creek.
He had many friends in the local area and always enjoyed stopping for a visit. But he was happiest when helping others. He kept tow chains and other equipment in his pickup truck for helping those in distress along the road, and he could often be seen towing stuck cars and trucks to safety and help. This he did in the metaphorical sense, as well, providing encouragement, hope and a way forward, as needs be, to those stuck in the doldrums that life sometimes presents. Many people, including the medical staff that cared for him during his illness, were fast friends and grateful recipients of bags of apples and peaches and other favors that he often brought to them.
In his later years, Fred enjoyed touring various areas of Vermont and New York State with his friend and companion, Pam Parker. He also liked going to agricultural fairs, especially the Cummington Fair.
He leaves his cousin, Ernest W. Kelley and his wife, Hsiu-li, of Conway MA, with whom he had resided during the two-year period of his illness; cousin, Arlene Fahey of Medway, MA; honorary nephew, John W. Carpenter and his wife Kathy of Ellington CT; and his dear friend and companion of later years, Pamela Parker of Buckland, MA.
Memorial donations may be made in Fred's name to: The First Congregational Church of Shelburne, 22 Church Street, Shelburne Center, MA 01370; or the Oncology Patient Needs Fund, BFMC Oncology, 164 High St., Greenfield, MA 01301.
Memorial services for Fred will be held at the First Congregational Church of Shelburne on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m. A committal service will be held at the East Hawley Cemetery at a date and time to be announced.
Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home of Shelburne Falls is in charge of the arrangements. To send a message of condolence, please visit:
Published in The Recorder on Feb. 18, 2014