Michael 'Mike' Kevin Kelley
Feb. 25, 1959 - Oct. 11, 2020
The world lost a one-of-a-kind, brilliant, funny, loving, competitive and generous man Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. Michael "Mike" Kevin Kelley passed away after a heroic 22-month battle with advanced cancer. His favorite movie was "It's a Wonderful Life," and those who love him saw many parallels between Mike and Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey.
He was born Feb. 25, 1959, the cherished youngest child of Dick and Darlene Kelley's four children. He grew up in Spokane, Wash., and graduated from Gonzaga Prep in 1977. He received his bachelor's degree in political science and history from Carroll College in Montana in 1981. At Carroll he was student body president, a four-year starter and leading scorer on the Saints basketball team, and a Rhodes Scholar finalist. He was inducted into the Carroll College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. After college Mike attended Notre Dame Law School, earning his J.D. in 1984.
At Notre Dame Mike met his lifelong love and partner, Laurie Cuffe, when they both worked as graduate assistants in ND's athletic department. He held three jobs simultaneously while attending law school full time. He was self-made and understood the value of hard work – an experience that shaped him, as later in life he helped others who struggled. After graduation, Mike moved to Portland to practice law at Lindsay Hart Neil and Weigler. Laurie went back home to Tampa, Fla., to start her career with Arthur Andersen Consulting. Before long, Laurie requested and was granted a transfer to Portland. By fall 1984, Laurie was working for Andersen in Portland – fortuitously – in the same building as Mike's law firm.
Mike and Laurie were married in 1985 and spent the next 35 years together building a wonderful life, filled with many new friends and a growing family that eventually would include four of the most amazing children ever – Ross, Erin, Catherine and Caroline. Adding to Mike's joy came son-in-law, Alex Hortsch in 2016, twin granddaughters, Hattie and Eloise in 2018 and baby Olive Hortsch in 2020. Mike was looking forward to celebrating Ross's wedding to Katie Craven this year and welcoming back Catherine's boyfriend Manus John Burns, who is serving our country overseas in the Oregon Army National Guard. Mike was incredibly proud of how close knit his family is. Three of his and Laurie's four adult children live on the same block in Southwest Portland.
Though Mike was not a fan of talking about work, he had a stellar legal career. Mike left Lindsay Hart in 1988 to help found a law firm that eventually would bear his name, Haglund Kelley LLP. During more than three decades, Mike was an outstanding trial lawyer who was repeatedly recognized as one of Oregon's Super Lawyers. In 2003, he was one of two lawyers who earned the largest antitrust verdict in the history of the Pacific Northwest, a $79 million verdict against Weyerhaeuser. State attorneys general in Washington and Oregon deputized Mike as a special assistant attorney several times. In these major cases, Mike helped achieve the largest oil spill settlement in Washington history and two of the largest antitrust recoveries for Oregonians in two complex price-fixing cases. A key contributor to these results was Mike's one-of-a-kind sense of strategy in settlement negotiations.
Despite a demanding career and busy family, Mike always made time for others. He chaired the boards of Jesuit High School and De La Salle North Catholic and served on the board of Lifeworks NW. He helped start the Jesuit High School Foundation Board, serving for a dozen years. He was always available to help others in need. Daughter Erin recalled a time when she and Mike went into a Subway store, and the man working there exclaimed, "I know what you did! Thank you!" When they got to the car, Erin asked Mike to explain. Mike had learned the man was unable to pay the fees required for his son to play soccer, so he quietly took care of it. In recent days, more of these stories of quiet service to others have emerged.
His greatest love was his family, and he was closely involved in his children's lives. Mike coached more than 30 sports teams for his children over the years – basketball, soccer, baseball and T-ball. He rarely missed any of his children's athletic competitions, dance recitals, speech tournaments or plays. He loved driving the kids to school, playing games, getting to know their friends and advising them on life. He had a soft spot for Christmas, babies and anyone who needed support, especially children.
His sense of humor and timing were well known. Friends and relatives spent many evenings of hospitality, laughter and fun in the Kelley home, where no one's glass was ever empty.
Mike is survived by his wife of 35 years, Laurie Cuffe Kelley; their children and greatest gifts, Ross (Katie Craven), Erin (Alex Hortsch), Catherine (Manus John Burns) and Caroline; as well as granddaughters, Eloise, Harriet and Olive Hortsch; sisters, Gay Hart (Bob Scanlan) and Colleen O'Kelley; and 20 nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Darlene and Dick Kelley; brother, Bob Kelley; and nephew, Reid Hart.
Our family would like to thank the amazing team at Providence Cancer Institute for their care during the past 22 months. Special thanks go to his incredible doctor and researcher, Dr. Rom Leidner, as well as Drs. Marka Crittenden, Walter Urba, Bryan Bell, Eric Tran, and Brian Piening. We are indebted to the teams on the 11th floor of the Franz Cancer Center, as well as the nurses, CNAs and other caregivers on 7N. Thank you – we will never forget the way you cared for Mike and our family.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private, invitation-only service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Mass and remembrances can be viewed on YouTube at: https://tinyurl.com/MikeKelleyService
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Providence Cancer Institute, Jesuit High School Tuition Assistance Fund, De La Salle North Catholic Basketball Program or Carroll College. Links to all of these can be found athttps://providencefoundations.org/in-memory-of-mike-kelley/
The Kelley family hopes others will be inspired by Mike's generosity and kindness. Mike would have brushed aside these accolades. But like George Bailey at the end of the movie, Mike understood that a person's true wealth was the love and respect of others. To his wife, kids, family, friends and colleagues, Mike Kelley truly was the richest man in town.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits