William “Bill” Kelly, age 73, of Oden, Arkansas, departed this life on March 2, 2020 at the Montgomery County Nursing Home in Mount Ida, AR. He was born February 24, 1947, in Mena, Arkansas to the late James Kirby and Oza Bates Kelly. Mr. Kelly is preceded in death by both his parents.
Mr. Kelly impacted the lives of all the students at Oden School, as a Social Studies teacher and coach for 34 plus years, as well as a mentor to many. He gave back to the community through countless hours of service. He loved when someone would show up at his front door “Mr. Kelly would you open the gym”. He loved those pickup basketball games. He especially enjoyed when a former student would send him graduation invitation, wedding and baby announcements. All of his students were family for life and he was glad to stay a part of theirs. Most of all, he was the best husband and father, with his ever present camera around his neck, he documented everything, marriages, birth, EVERY event ever! He was most proud of his wife and daughter, always loving and faithful. The best brother to his siblings anyone could have wished for, he always had an ear for you, always with your best interest at heart. The kindest, most giving, thoughtful brother anyone could ask for.
He absolutely loved the Razorbacks his whole life (he even has Razorback shoes that were brand new still in the box), he would also make Jennifer wear the plastic hog hat, loved music of all types but particular Elvis, he had all the records, his record collection, started when he was a teen runs the gamut from country, gospel to rock. He loved to go to concerts and when he would go to any kind of amusement park (a favorite hobby of his because it was traveling) he would have to go sit through all the (usually country and gospel) shows.
He is survived by wife Penny Kelly of Oden, Arkansas, one daughter, Jennifer Stanzell and husband Doug of Aurora, Minnesota, brothers, John Kelly of Mena, Arkansas, Joseph Kelly of Morrilton, Arkansas and sister, Marty Hansen and husband Tom of Mena, Arkansas, and a host of Oden School colleagues, students, and friends.
Visitation was held Thursday, March 5, 2020, 5-7 at Thornton Funeral Home in Mount Ida, Arkansas. Service was held Friday, March 6, 2020 at 2:00 pm at Pencil Bluff Baptist Church in Pencil Bluff, AR with Bro. Andy Kennedy, Bro. Mitch Odem and Bro. David Rouse officiating. Pallbearers were William Edwards II, Jerry Strasner, Keith Willsey, Michael Stovall, Rusty Lewis and Cotton Morrison. Honorary pallbearers were the Faculty and Students of Ouachita River School District and the Staff of Montgomery County Nursing Home. Arrangements were made under the direction of Thornton Funeral Home of Mount Ida, Arkansas. Guest register at www.thorntonfh.com