SPARTANBURG, SC- Beloved husband, father, and surgeon Henry G. Kelley, Jr. M. D., 90, passed away on June 6, 2020, surrounded by his family. Born December 27, 1930, in Greenville, SC, he was the son of the late Henry Grace Kelley Sr. and Gertrude Barrett Kelley.
Dr. Kelley is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 60 years, and his two daughters, Lisa Kelley Killorin (Dr. Wylly Killorin, Jr.) of Columbus, Ga. and Jennifer Kelley McInnis (Royce McInnis, Jr.) of Tryon, N.C. He was predeceased by his son, Henry Grace Kelley III, of Spartanburg, S.C., and his brother, Robin Barrett Kelley, of Anderson, S.C. He leaves behind three cherished grandchildren, Jameson Kelley Killorin, Edward Wylly Killorin III, and Coleman Ware Killorin.
A prominent cardiothoracic surgeon, Henry spent most of his life and career focused on providing his patients with life-saving heart procedures. In March 1981, he founded the Open Heart program at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. A lifelong learner, Henry knew from an early age that his career would involve medicine. He attended Spartanburg High School (Class of 1948) and upon graduation was recruited by Wofford College (Class of 1952). He went on to study at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where he graduated in 1956.
His next steps took him all across America, first to sunny California, where he completed his internship at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles County Hospital. He then traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for his residency at The Ohio State University Hospital, during which time he joined the Navy and served his country as Chief of Surgery at Station Hospital in Port Hueneme, California as a Navy Lt. (M.C.) He then returned to The Ohio State University Hospital where he completed his residency and was appointed Chief Resident of Surgery. He received his Master of Medical Science-Surgery from The Ohio State University. He was later named Senior Fellow of Thoracic-Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Henry worked hard to share his love of learning, a mission that led him to many fulfilling professional roles. He returned home to Spartanburg to further his medical career at Spartanburg General Hospital, later renamed Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. During his long tenure, Henry served in many important capacities, including Director of Medical Education, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, Chairman of the committee to obtain certificate of need for cardiopulmonary bypass surgery, Director of the Cardiopulmonary Bypass Surgery Department, and Surgical Teaching Faculty and Director of Surgical Education for the Department of Medical Education.
Henry was respected by his peers and was praised for his success in the medical field. He was awarded the Distinguished Classmate award during his 60th high school reunion. He received the Distinguished Service Award and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Careers by Wofford College. He was honored for his role in founding the Open Heart program at Spartanburg Regional during a special reception at the Piedmont Club, and the Spartanburg Regional Heart Center auditorium is dedicated in his name for his immense contributions to the hospital's heart program.
No one loved or was prouder of his grandchildren than Henry, and few knew him who did not hear a story or see a photo of them. In addition to spending time with his family, Henry was an enthusiastic nature lover who looked forward to September as the beginning of dove season. Always the adventure seeker, he was an Eagle Scout, a licensed pilot, and an avid hunter with great aim. He loved fishing and was always ready to wet a line. Henry was also a self-described "peachy" dancer. His hearty sense of humor will be greatly missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Henry's family extends their heartfelt gratitude to those who cared for him during his final days, particularly Emily and Patrick at The Inverness at Spartanburg and the staff at Hospice of the Carolina Foothills.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent in Henry's name to St. Luke's Free Medical Clinic and Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. The family requests privacy at this time.
The J. F. Floyd Mortuary
Published in Spartanburg Herald-Journal on Jun. 14, 2020.