John Kelly Cline born on April 14, 1921 Richmond, Ray County, Missouri died Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at the age of 91.
Raised in the coal mining camps of Western Missouri, to parents Nellie Mae (Claypole) and Clarence Alvin Cline, he was the second youngest of eight children - George, Nellie, Annie, Clarence, Mary, Elsie, and William. His mother died young and Kelly was raised by the sisters he spoke of fondly, and often. His family also worked the fields and Kelly would recall the story of being too small to pick potatoes, so instead, would ride on horseback, bringing cold, clear water to the workers.
He attended Excelsior Springs High School, where he was a "miler" for the Tigers Track team, and finished second place in the state meet. After his junior year, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and performed erosion-control in Minnesota, an experience he credited with "saving his life" with three square meals a day. He kept a strong work-ethic his entire life.
After high school graduation, he joined the Navy, and attended boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He was on watch the morning of December 7, 1941, and was the first on base to learn of the attack on Pearl Harbor; alerting everyone at camp with "We're at war, Boys!" Kelly initially served at the Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle, WA. One night's leave, roller-skating at the Roller Bowl in Seattle, he met a young lady from Renton, named Jean Margaret "Margie" Seguin. She would later become his bride.
Kelly's one and only naval mission was on the USS Absecon, sailing from Bremerton to Jacksonville, Florida, through the Panama Canal. Seaskick the entire 30 days, he dropped 30 pounds during the voyage and was placed on land-leave by the Captain who stated, "Cline, I'm putting you ashore - because if I don't...you're gonna die!" The remainder of his military service was spent in Jacksonville.
In 1943, he invited Margie to spend Christmas in Missouri. Kelly and Margie were married at his sister Mary's home on Dec. 18, 1943. The minister made it clear he didn't believe their war-time elopement would last. Much to the disappointment of Marge, the marriage only lasted 69 years instead of the 70 that Kelly promised.
Kelly worked as an airplane mechanic for Boeing, Naval Station Sand Point, and Larson Air Force Base, before he finally settled at McChord Air Force Base where he worked for 35 years. Marge and Kelly lived in Federal Way, and raised three children, William Kelly (wife Deb Baker), John Robert "Bo" (wife Bethany Dodds), and Margaret Nell "Maggie" (husband Mike Buckholz).
Kelly loved the outdoors, and was an avid fisherman. His favorite spot was the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River catching rainbow trout. He loved hunting in the Clockum, and clamming the pacific beaches and Hood Canal. He'd often show the photo of when he caught a massive 60 lb. King salmon in Alaska (although one granddaughter, remembers distinctly witnessing it was much closer to 59 ½ pounds.)
He was a big "joiner", and was the charter member (and 6th Master) of the Thorton F. McElroy Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Washington. Kelly was also a member of the Elks (Travel Club), the Nile Shrine (drill team), the Renton Eagles, the American Legion (Renton Fred Hancock Post #20), and the Washington Generals.
Kelly loved music, dancing, watching local high school basketball games, sports on TV, gardening, his afternoon Captain and Coke, and was an avid reader. He was a very sweet man, who adored his grandchildren Josh Cline (wife Kenyatta), Megan Cline, Cerra Buckholz, Kelly Buckholz, and his great-grandson Zachary Cline
Kelly will be remembered at a Masonic Memorial on Wednesday, March 20, 5:00pm, T.F. McElroy Lodge in Federal Way, and an Irish Wake at his daughter's home on Camano Island on Sunday, March 24, 2:00-5:00pm.