Cover photo for Rodger Leroy Kelley's Obituary
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1956 Rodger 2023

Rodger Leroy Kelley

February 23, 1956 — February 3, 2023


      Rodger Leroy Kelley, age 66 of Elsie, MI, passed away Friday, February 3, 2023, at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI.

      Cremation has taken place per his wishes and no memorial service is planned at this time.  If you ever had the privilege of listening to any of his life stories (no one could tell a story better than Rodger) you know he lived an adventurous life. So be sure to celebrate his life often.

     Rodger was born in St. Johns, Michigan on February 23, 1956, the son of Donald and Dorothea (Hoshield) Kelley.  He married Joy Ann "JD" Kelley on October 16, 1992, in Ithaca, Michigan.  They were blessed with twenty-seven years of marriage, prior to her passing on November 8, 2019.

     Rodger's favorite pastime was gardening.  He spent all winter planning out his garden, all spring for the planting and all summer giving it all away.  In his early years, he was a car enthusiast and rebuilt a Chevelle from the tires up.  Rodger excelled as a shop supervisor due to his leadership skills, gift of reading blueprints and ability to work with numbers.  He enjoyed his daily rides, where he was sure to stop in to visit his many friends and family after a visit to the Happy Hour.  Rodger loved camping, fishing, and going up north which he and JD did often. Harvesting horseradish then making horseradish from scratch was one of the things he looked forward to most years with his brother and friends. He will be most remembered by his wonderful sense of humor and his uncanny ability to make people laugh.  He always had a wise comment and quotes to live by.

     He is survived by his daughter Angela and Victor Ward of Elsie, MI; daughter Patti Dershem of St. Johns, MI; son Douglas "Buck" and Stacy Dershem of Ovid, MI; eleven grandchildren: Devon, Hunter, Logan, Hilary, Haley, MacKenzie, Skylar, John, Dale, Mellissa, and Wyatt; four great-grandchildren: Blakely, Cairro, Blake, and Brailen; brother Alan Kelley of Owosso, MI; brother Dale and Penny Kelley of Elsie, MI; sister Connie and Wayne Underhill of Ovid, MI; brother-in-law Jim and Kathleen Larsen of St. Johns, MI; brother-in-law Jack and Janine Larsen of St. Johns, MI; sister-in-law Janet Dershem of Ithaca, MI; sister-in-law Judy and Bob Moon of Ithaca, MI. Rodger is also survived by many nieces, nephews and countless friends.  Rodger was preceded in death by his parents, his wife JD Kelley, mother-in-law Marietta Larsen, sister Cindy Craig, sister-in-law Mary Kelley and nephew Tim Kelley.

     Memorial contributions may be made to the wishes of the family. Online condolences can be sent to The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes, Elsie, Michigan.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rodger Leroy Kelley, please visit our flower store.


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