Robert Arthur Kelley, age 89, passed away peacefully in his home on March 4, 2019. He was born May 4, 1929 in Hudson, MI, to Lynn W. Kelley and Zerma V. Kelley (Yeagley). He grew up in Adrian, MI and graduated from Adrian High School in 1947 where he earned 9 letters in sports; 3 football, 3 swimming, and 3 baseball. He was captain of the swimming team and named to the 2nd team All-America by Readers Digest.
He graduated from the University of Michigan, was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the Army Ordinance Corps during Korean War. He married Joan Ducey (deceased) in 1952 and had 3 sons, Robert, Jr., Michael (deceased) and Craig. He was devoted to his sons and, by example, instilled a winning spirit, high goals, character, integrity and values.
He had a lifelong love of boating and water sports. In his younger years he boated at Devil’s Lake, MI (father was a founder of Devil’s Lake Yacht Club). Later boating at Catawba Island Club, Port Clinton, OH, and he enjoyed swimming, tennis and golf in Arizona.
He was a life-long entrepreneur and purchased Coe’s Awning and Canvas Company, Toledo, OH in 1963 with a name change to Dickey Industries, Inc. It became a nationally known manufacturer of canvas products for the camping and boating industries during the 60’s and 70’s. He also owned The Geneva Boat Company, Hudson, MI, manufacturer of fiberglass runabouts.
In 1976, Robert was a contract manufacturer of Open Office Panel Systems for Owens Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Toledo, OH, and purchased the business in 1981 under the name of Tibbet, Inc. The company maintained a national showroom and regional sales office in The Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL. He was President and CEO of Tibbet, Inc. until selling his interest in 1987 and relocating to Scottsdale, AZ with his wife, Helen (Klingler).
In Scottsdale, AZ he purchased A to Z Office Products Company, formed Corporate Resources, Inc., a Management Consulting Company, and Custom Classics International, designer and manufacturer of a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham “De Elegance” and Lincoln Towne Car (golf carts) during the 90’s until retirement in 1999.He is a former member of the Rotary Club of Toledo, The Toledo Club, Inverness Country Club (Toledo, OH); The Merchants and Manufacturers Club and The East Bank Club (Chicago, IL); The Scottsdale Arizona Rotary Club and The Arizona Club (Scottsdale, AZ).
His character, humor, responsive mind, loving heart and compassionate soul will be greatly missed by his devoted wife, Helen, of 35 years; sons Robert Jr. (Kendall) Perth, Australia and Craig (Caren) Del Mar, CA; daughter-in-law, Silvia Kelley; brother, John (Edythe) Kelley; niece, Barbara (Dennis) Kelley Selby; and 5 grandchildren, Sabrina, Sean, Courtney, Devon and Caden.
Visitation will be held Friday, March 15, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Reeb Funeral Home, 5712 Main Street, Sylvania, OH. The Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 5373 Main St., Sylvania, OH with internment to follow at Ottawa Hills Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to your favorite charity.