Friday, June 27, 2008

Robert Coffin Kelly

My dear father-in-law died this evening. It has been a long struggle for him and we are so glad he is free. We will miss him so much. This will be a huge transition for mom from full time caregiver to mom and grandma and...herself.

Dad was a newspaper salesman as a boy; he met mom at BYU on a bus trip to SLC to the geneology library. They had seven children including Susan Grace who died shortly after her birth. Dad served a mission in the southwest and learned Spanish. He continued to use his Spanish as a stake missionary for decades.

He taught chemistry for many years at Ventura College, then served another mission with mom to Michigan. He LOVED to travel. He visited Europe many times to see his daughter and her family. He also loved traveling through the United States in their Winnebago.

Dad loved geneology. He loved the mystery of it and the stories and lessons learned from his ancestors.

Dad loved to read. He studied chemistry, politics, the scriptures, history and many other subjects.

Dad loved his computer. It was a wonderful tool for him in geneology.

He also loved to play games. He had a wonderful mind and a competitive spirit.

The last years have been hard on Dad. He was already dealing with Parkinson's and cancer when he fell and broke his neck. He bravely faced the loss of full use of his legs, but the loss of his hands was a struggle. Last year when an infection turned particularly bad and Dad was told he had "heart goobers" (the dr's description). He was given hours, days, or weeks to live. Dad's competitive spirit supported him through another 16 months. He died on the 164th anniversary of the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Tami, Chris and Mom were with Dad when he died.

I love my father-in-law.

I know this is already long...this morning I read in "Tramp for the Lord," by Corrie Ten Boom, about her experience when her good friend Connie died. She talked about the 23rd Psalm "yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." In the 91st Psalm it talks about being in the Lord's death we are so close to the Lord we are in His shadow. That is such a wonderful comfort and a beautiful image. This afternoon Mom and Tami asked Dad to blink if he had seen his parents..he blinked. He blinked that he had seen Mom's parents and Susan Grace. What a wonderful celebration that must be...Dad can hug again.


Melody, Steve & Tyler said...

Thanks for the info on his life. I will add this to what I posted. See you guys in a few days.

Maria said...

Your Father-in-law sounds like a great man. I'm sorry for your loss and grateful that he is released from his suffering. I love you. You are a great example to me. What a great book to be reading at this time.

cory and sharon said...

Our thoughts and prayer are with your family. Chris's dad was a great guy. You could tell he loved his family and the Lord just by looking at him. I'm sure it is comforting to know that he is free now.

Knapp family said...

I am going to add your blog to our blog. You are a family friend.
I enjoyed my visit to your blog.
Sorry about your dad.

Jill Knapp ( Ron's Wife)

Tamster said...

I just now finally got around to reading your post. Thank you so much for what you wrote. It was a very nice tribute to him. We just about could have just used this for his obituary. ;-) It would have saved us some time. ;-)
Thanks again. Love y'all! :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Chris and Britt,
I'm trying to find out where your Mom (Barbara)is living and her phone number. Barbara was my first visiting teacher, and we bacame good friends. We were "neighbors", living on Prima Court. I haven't heard from her for over a year. Yvonne Hawkins hasn't heard from her either. Please send you Mom my love.
Roberta (Bob) Goodman