On Sunday, March 21, 2021, Michael Lynn Kelley, loving husband and father, passed away at the age of 69.
Mike was born on Sept. 14, 1951 in Tulare, Calif., to Phil and Barbara (Wright) Kelley. Mike’s family moved several times throughout his childhood before settling in Bakersfield (Oildale), Calif. Mike loved telling the story about the time he came home from Beardsley School and his parents had moved without telling him. He eventually found his new home and was able to continue his education and eventually graduated from his beloved North High.
Some of Mike’s fondest memories and most told stories were with his classmates from the class of 1969. While at North, Mike was varsity letterman in basketball and baseball. He even made time to camp out on the cafeteria roof before graduation day. Mike continued his education at Bakersfield College where he played basketball before moving on to Fresno State University. While at Fresno State he stopped playing basketball to focus on his studies and spend more time at the Library (a local campus bar), he would tell his kids later.
While in Fresno, Mike earned a bachelor’s degree and would find his life’s work in the field of recreation, starting at a local YMCA and continuing to several recreation and parks districts across Kern County. Mike worked in various capacities for almost 40 years devoted to our local parks.
Before finishing his degree at Fresno, Mike met his first wife, Kathy Baehr. They married in June of 1974 and were blessed with their only child, Matthew, in 1979. Mike and Kathy divorced in 1982, but remained dedicated to raising their beloved son. Mike enjoyed following Matt around the valley in his athletic endeavors, especially times when he could bring his father, Phil, along for the ride. Mike was the first parent to the games, sitting at the top of the stadium, waiting an hour before the event would start.
Like his father, Mike had many jobs in different towns before he settled in Tehachapi, Calif., in the early 1990s. While in Tehachapi, he met his love, Jeanette Haubrich, and her three children Channon, Cole and Angie. Mike and Jeanette were married in Dec. 17, 1994. Mike took on his role as “Dad” to all three children with pride and loved them as his own. He enjoyed going to sixth grade camp with Angie’s class, coaching Angie’s soccer team and served as a member of the Tehachapi High School chain gang so he could be close to the action at Cole’s football games. It was through Mike’s support that Channon finished her home schooling a year early and received her high school diploma.
In later years, Mike supported his children as they began their own journeys, had children, and established their homes. Mike provided wisdom and support to Channon, who then had three beautiful children, as their family moved to Texas and Oregon. He was central in Cole’s graduation from the United States Military Academy and subsequent Army career, and was incredibly supportive of military service and those who performed acts of social service. Mike relished his multiple grandchildren and supported them in school and sports.
Mike was genuine and kind to everyone he met and always made them feel welcome. He appreciated them regardless of their age or whether they supported another baseball team other than his World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mike received his sacraments from the Catholic Church in 2001 confirming his devote Catholic faith. He was a loyal member of the Knights of Columbus where he expressed his love in the service of others. In numerous communities, Mike was involved with the Kiwanis International.
Mike is preceded in death by his father, Phil Kelley, mother, Barbara (Wright) Kelley, and brother, David Kelley. He is survived by his wife Jeanette (Haubrich) Kelley, and four children, Matthew (Jennifer) Kelley, Channon (David) Casey, Cole (Katie) Pinheiro, and Angie (Kathy) Pinheiro, his sister Kathy (Michael) Fox, his sister-in-law Donna Kelley, 10 grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, his niece and nephew, as well as several cousins.
A Rosary will be recited at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, 2021, during the viewing which will be from 5 to 8 p.m., at Greenlawn Funeral Home, 3700 River Blvd., Bakersfield, Calif. A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 124 Columbus, Bakersfield, Calif. A graveside service will follow the funeral mass at Greenlawn Cemetery, 3700 River Blvd., Bakersfield, Calif.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the funeral Mass, please bring your own folding chair, wear a mask, and maintain social distancing. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association. The family plans to have a more social celebration of life in 2022.