Commander William Newby Kelt (USN, ret.) passed away peacefully at home on May 6, 2021, after a lengthy illness. Newby was a beloved husband, father, uncle and friend. He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Dorothy Powell Kelt but had his beloved daughters, Patti Kelt and Marci Oehler (Scott) and granddaughters, Kelly Simcox (Kade) and Carrie Wilson (Steven) with him until his passing. He was born in Decatur, Georgia on October 6, 1928, to Audrey Paulette Newby and Jack Kelt. He attended Virginia Military Institute before he transferred to the University of Georgia. He joined the Navy as a fighter pilot in 1950. He married Dorothy Ann Powell in 1952. He was dedicated to Naval service and had a love of aviation, especially the RF-8A Photo Reconnaissance Crusader. He performed many important missions throughout his career. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross after flying a photo reconnaissance mission during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He served on the USS Kearsarge (VF-113) Enterprise (VFP-62), Forrestal (RVAH-12), and Shangri-La. Deciding against a promotion, and being stationed at the Pentagon, he accepted his final orders to navigate the Shangri-la out of Mayport NAS in 1969. He left the Navy after 20 years in 1971. He had a second career working in the City of Jacksonville Mayor's office with Hans Tanzler, Jake Godbold and Tommy Hazouri. He was Personnel Director and later, a Special Projects Administrator. When he retired from the City he and Dottie traveled throughout the United States visiting friends and family and having many adventures. He had many interests throughout his life. He was an avid fisherman, bird hunter and photographer. He made a kick-ass Bloody Mary, could whip up a great omelet and made many kinds of bean soup. He was a die-hard Georgia Bulldog in a house full of Lady Gators! He loved college football and said that watching golf encouraged good naps. He was a skilled storyteller, and it is speculated that he embellished more than a few. He used to recite poetry and break out into song to commemorate a moment. There was practically not a subject that he did not know something about or a problem he could not solve. He was the most amazing husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. He was almost larger than life and we felt a shift in the force when he passed but he is woven into the fabric of our lives and will never be lost. He will be missed dearly until we are all together again. It was a wonderful life well lived and well loved. Peace be the journey with fair weather and following seas. The family would like to recognize the support provided by the staff at Heartland Hospice. We also had a team of wonderful caregivers whose help was invaluable and deeply appreciated. A dual interment of Newby and Dottie Kelt will be held at the Jacksonville National Cemetery on June 4 at 1:30PM. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Heartland Hospice, City Rescue Mission or Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com
Published by Florida Times-Union from May 12 to May 30, 2021.