Michael Kelly

May 31, 1944
September 10, 2021

Michael C. Kelly was born in Green Bay on May 31, 1944. He spent 77 years on the grand dirt track of life. He had some flat tires, made countless pit stops, often crashed and burned, and sometimes hurtled right off the track altogether, but he kept getting back in the race. When the white flag flew he made the most of his last lap. He reached out with apologies, he offered and accepted forgiveness, and he told his people he loved them.  

The checkered flag dropped on Michael Kelly’s life on the afternoon of September 10, 2021. He was surrounded by people who loved him. He finished the race a champion.  

Completing the race ahead of him were his parents, William and Rosella Kelly, and three brothers, Timothy Kelly, Patrick Kelly, and Denis Kelly. Still in the race are his siblings, Colleen (Tony) Vassallo, Shawn (Lynn) Wallenfang, Kathleen Kelly, and Kevin (Pam) Kelly, sister-in-law Mary Connelly Kelly, three children, Brian Kelly, Kim Klein, and Pam Kelly, four grandchildren, dozens of nieces and nephews, and friends and co-workers who considered him family.  

Mike loved fast cars, rumbling Harleys, rock ’n’ roll music, beautiful women, pike fishing in Canada, spending winters in his RV in Florida, and holding court with his outrageous stories. He was unapologetically gritty and wildly inappropriate, and he told you exactly what he thought whether you liked it or not. He was unfiltered and furious and funny as all hell. He was affectionately called “Gator Mike” and “Old Man River” and several other names that cannot be printed here.  

Old Man River’s life will be celebrated at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason St., from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 23rd. There will be snacks and adult beverages and rock ’n’ roll music. Please come and share your best “Gator Mike” stories.    

Special thanks to Kristen and the whole team at Unity Hospice, and Paula from Home Instead. You were angels, all of you.