The Desert IndependentTM

Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001


Frank Kelly

“A Renaissance Man”

By Robert JENSEN
The Desert Independent

June 10, 2012 New

BLYTHE, Calif – Pastor Gerald Hoeman termed his friend Frank Kelly as the type of “Renaissance Man” God gives to the world once in a while. This is an apt description as Frank was truly a man of many talents – firefighter, pilot, teacher, grant writer, welder, and handyman and – upon occasion – a poet.

The services were held at an overflowing Zion Lutheran Church this past Saturday where Frank gave so much of himself as an elder and board member. Those colleagues in fire suppression came out in uniform as well as members of the Community Emergency Response Team he had singlehandedly formed.

Several speakers came forward to speak glowingly of Frank’s lifetime accomplishments; including Ray Picard, a Retired Chief from Huntington Beach, Jon Fox, his brother-in-law and Tom Cary, a Captain with American Airlines.

The congregation was reminded of Frank’s droll sense of humor in a couple of the “war stories” that were recounted. Once, when co-piloting a single-engine Cessna over Catalina Island, the engine seized up and the propeller stopped rotating. Frank simply looked over to the owner of the plane and asked, “Does this happen often?”

Another account was the prediction that when Frank made it to the Pearly Gates, he heard a squeak and thereupon told St. Peter, “You know, I could fix that if you’d let me.”

Following the services, the folks that Frank loved met at the Fairgrounds for fellowship and fond remembrances.

Pictures, published with permission of family, are displayed below.

Return to Quarters

We hear the bell, three times it sounds

We heard the page, its call to arms

We leave the quarters, no lunch today

It looks like a “worker,” I’m sorry to say

Make it a “second,” the captain declares

No, make it a third, but don’t despair

All will be fine, cold lunch or not

Dishes to wash, guys, cast your lot

A large fire is tough, that is for sure

But “quarters” are safe and surely secure

And so it is, my brave, humble friend

This is the beginning and not the end

You have returned to quarters, not a bell will ring

You are in quarters, God’s blessing he will bring

Frank Kelly


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