LeRoy Kelly, age 88, of Milbank who died on October 9, 2019, at St. William’s Care Center. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, October 14, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Father Dana Christensen will celebrate the Mass. Con-celebrants will be Father Gary DeRouchey, Father Tom Hartman, and Padre Dav`id Garza. Visitation will be held on Sunday from 5 – 7 p.m. at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. A prayer vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue at the church on Monday, one hour prior to the Mass. Burial will be at St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by: American Legion Birch-Miller Post #9, V.F.W. Grant County Post #3486, V.V.A. Northeast SD Chapter #1054, and D.A.V. Chapter #19.
Casket bearers will be grandsons: Joshua Kelly, Jon Christensen, Jacob Tesch, Kelly Tesch, Mark Tesch, Jordan Tesch, Christopher Kelly, and Eric Kelly. Honorary bearers will be: Sisters and Staff at St. William’s Care Center, Dr. Allan Ross and Staff, Max Gonzenbach, Rudy Nef, and the Retirees of Valley Queen Cheese, and Classmates of the MHS Class of 1950.
LeRoy Joseph Kelly was born on October 26, 1930, in Milbank, SD. He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Wagner) Kelly. LeRoy grew up in Milbank and graduated from Milbank High School with the Class of 1950. He enlisted into the United States Navy on September 21, 1950. He served in Japan on a supply ship during the Korean Conflict. He was honorably discharged on June 23, 1954.
LeRoy returned to South Dakota and married the love of his life, Rose Marie Folk, on November 13, 1954. They lived in Rockford, Illinois, for a short time before moving back to Milbank. LeRoy and Rose were blessed with four children: Cindy, Keith, Kathy, and Philip.
LeRoy began his career with Valley Queen Cheese in 1957 when he was 27 years old. He worked the night shift and became the night supervisor in the early 1960’s and later became the head foreman. He remained in the supervisory position until his retirement in 1990, only three months short of 30 years with Valley Queen. LeRoy’s period of employment with Valley Queen spanned the period when cheese production was strictly a manual labor intensive operation to 1990 when cheese production was a highly technical, computer, and machine driven process.
LeRoy was a kind and gentle man. He adored his wife and children. He enjoyed boxing as a young man. He loved to fish, especially with his grandchildren. He was always willing to clean fish while everyone else fished! He was a proud and devoted father and always willing to help his children when needed. He was a faithful member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. He served as an usher, lector, Eucharistic Minister, and parish council member. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the VFW.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Rose of Milbank, SD; four children: Cindy (Lowell) Christensen of Milbank, SD; Keith (Cheryl) Kelly of Corona, SD; Kathy (Tom) Tesch of Watertown, SD; and Philip (Janelle) Kelly of Big Stone City, SD; 13 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
LeRoy was preceded in death by his parents and ten siblings.