Reverend Dan Buford Kelly, 93, passed away peacefully at Morning Pointe in Powell, Tennessee on Saturday, July 24, 2021.
He spent 42 years as a minister in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was born in Chattanooga, TN, grew up in the Fountain City area of Knoxville, graduating from Central High School, the University of Tennessee, attending Asbury Theological Seminary where he was a member of the Singing Seminarians, graduating with a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. He did extended study at Drew University. He pastored United Methodist Churches at Mt. Lebanon (now Colonial Heights UMC), Glen Alpine in the Kingsport area, Dublin, Va, Chattanooga Asbury and Harrison-Shallowford Rd, Trinity Woodmore, Keith Memorial in Athens, and Tazewell, Va. He was active in the Holston Conference in areas of ministerial training, Asbury Acres Homes for the Retired, the Work Area on Missions, chaired the Conference Work Area on Evangelism, participated extensively in evan-gelistic missions to Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador and Africa (Liberia). He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Tennessee Wesleyan University in 1988. He sponsored several students to Tennessee Wesleyan.
Early in his ministry, Dan exchanged pulpits with a Methodist minister in Blackpool, England, perhaps triggering his love for travel. He was an avid photographer, having numerous pictures of the Holy Land published in a VBS series for Cokesbury Publishing House. He was a world traveler, traveling in 55 countries, leading tour groups, leaving friends around the world. It was said, if he was traveling alone, he could always find a friend with whom he could spend the night.
When Holston Conference began a mission project working with the J. J. Russell school in Monrovia, Liberia, Dan made multiple trips where he was instrumental in building a library; he collected and shipped books and thus acquiring the honor of the school library being named the Dan Kelly Library.
After retirement in 1992, he taught a Sunday School class of his peers at Fountain City UMC, did two interims in UMC churches in Franklin, Vermont, spending one ‘Christmas in Vermont.’ He was an active member of the Church Mice group of retired UMC ministers and spouses.
Dan’s primary spiritual gift was that of encouragement and he spread that encouragement to family, friends, and strangers. As a pastor he discipled many who credit him with his care and influence in their Christian walk.
He is preceded in death by his parents, C.L. (Pete) and Mabel Kelly and his brother, Cecil Kelly. He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Marianna and Ernie McGaughey of Tulia, TX.; sister-in-law, Polly Kelly; nephews, Tim Kelly and Stan Kelly; niece, Melissa (John) Shipman all of Knoxville; nieces, Suzannah (Tim) Ruland of Electra, TX, Andrea Brown of Albuquerque, NM, and Elissa (Aaron) Inman of Duncan, OK.; 8 great nieces and nephews, Tori, Micah, and Ben Ruland, Jake (Stephanie) Inman, Brette (Chris) Welch, Isaac Brown, Alex Shipman, Marina (Clifford) Scharlock; 4 great-great nieces and nephews, Andrew, Ana, Ezra and Azalea Welch - all who loved him deeply as well as many others, who considered him their Uncle Dan.
The family will receive friends from 12:00pm-1:00pm on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at Fountain City United Methodist Church (212 Hotel Rd. Knoxville, TN 37918). A service will follow at 1:00pm with Rev. Steve Blakemore, Rev. Don Hanshew, and Rev. Chase Crickenberger officiating. A graveside service will be held the same day at 3:00pm at Fountain City United Methodist Church Cemetery (5500 Aster Rd. Knoxville, TN 37918)
The family suggests memorials may be made to the J.J. Roberts School in Liberia (in care of Fountain City United Methodist Church) or to the Agape House, (5403 Jacksboro Pike, Knoxville, TN 37918), or to Fountain City United Methodist Church, (212 Hotel Ave., Knoxville, TN 37918).
Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Kelly family and invites you to view and sign the online registry at www.gentrygriffey.com