Stanfordville – Kevin James Kelly, long-time resident of Stanfordville and Millbrook NY, diagnostic arborist to many majestic trees in southern Dutchess County, historian, pilot, dutiful son, nature enthusiast & helpful friend passed peacefully away at home in Dunedin Florida on Dec. 15, 2018, after a courageously fought battle for 15 months with glioblastoma. He was 64.
Kevin was born on August 3, 1954, in Poughkeepsie, NY, to Jean Smith and Henry Kelly, the first of three sons. He was a kind, hardworking, humble man with a generosity of spirit unsurpassed by all that knew him. A self-proclaimed “news hound”, Kevin wrote a weekly column for the Millbrook Round Table during high school, which
opened the doors to Syracuse University where he graduated with a degree in journalism and a minor in forestry. He went on to become a certified arborist and built a successful tree doctoring business in the Millbrook area. He called himself an amateur historian, but there was nothing amateur about his passion for American history, and he often donned a top hat and served up tales of the Wild West to friends and neighbors imbibing and delighting in the sunsets over the Catskills from his outdoor saloon on Quarter Horse Way. He had a deep fondness for Arizona and especially Flagstaff and Lake Powell and returned often exploring the vastness of the desert and canyons and soaking in the majesty and history of the land. Wherever Kevin stood, he absorbed the presence of history and could tell you a tale from the minute to the big picture. To watch him marvel at the beautiful sunsets from his mountaintop home, you could almost see the glaciers rolling across his landscape lensed through his twinkling blue eyes. Kevin not only embraced history, he held it in his hands.
Kevin will always be remembered for his laughter, by the positive life he led every day, by the joy he expressed in others’ successes and his insouciant humor that he found in all aspects of life. Kevin’s vibrant spirit and love of life never left him and we wish him Godspeed as he soars to the stars enjoying every sunset as a changing palate of his life joining his beloved mother and younger brother Sean on his next adventure.
Kevin is survived by his brother, Craig Douglas Kelly of Cuenca, Ecuador, his cousin, Lois Trebisacci of Port Charlotte Florida, Goddaughter, Kristin Rathbun of Waterford CT and by longtime friend, caregiver, and wife, Whitney Rauh, and by all those whose lives he touched so deeply.