Dan Kelley

Dan Kelley made everything fun. We could always count on breakfast in bed during our travels since our Captain Dan would bounce out of bed with energy and happiness. It didn’t matter if we were ice skating at Stockade Lake across from our family home in Custer, flying to Steamboat in our Cessna with friends or to Jackson Hole to do white water rafting, we all could count on dad to have good humor.  
We hope, as you listen to Lone Star’s cassette tape, you’re able to have good, fun memories of Dan. The person who loved his family and friends.

I was born, I blinked, and I was dead. I’m off to see the great cremator. Finally, I will be smoking hot like I always envisioned in life.
Danny Lee Kelley was born Jan. 2, 1952, in Brush, Colo. He was beaten out by some baby girl who was the first New Year’s baby by just a few hours. (and got lots of presents). Next time, I will order a C section.
Dan’s mother Geraldine (Meyers) Kelley and Dan’s father Herbert John Kelley were disappointed, but not in the sixth child born to a family of 12. Living in poverty was a disappointment. Dan didn’t realize he was in poverty until he applied to college. His parents made sure of that with love and affection.
He graduated valedictorian, or did he, of his Otis High School class in Otis, Colo., in 1970 in a class of 19 (three smarter students moved away right before graduation).
Dan attended and passed his commercial flying test at Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colo.
Dan then transferred to the University of Northern Colorado (a teacher’s college) where the ratio of girls to boys was seven to one. He received degrees in math and science. But, most importantly he met the love of his life there, Nancy Carol Warne. They were married Sept. 27, 1974.
They moved to Green River, Wyo., where he taught math and science at the high school. Dan was also an EMT and worked out of the hospital in Rock Springs, Wyo., before attending law school at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. He graduated from law school (after agreeing to give up his conscience) in May of 1978.
With some help, he was able to escape across the border of Wyoming to South Dakota where he practiced law in Custer, S.D. He was Custer City attorney for 10 years under the mistaken belief that he couldn’t be indicted as a sitting city attorney.
Two children were born to Nancy and Dan in Custer. Ashlee Spring and Britney Nicole. Both Dan claims as his own.
In 1989 he was hired by United Airlines and became an instructor pilot on the Boeing 727 and went on to serve as captain on the Boeing 737 and Airbus, accumulating some 25,000 hours over his career. Dan flew in Canada, Mexico, Europe and other countries while still maintaining his law practice. He survived many layovers.
The best that happened to him after meeting the love of his life and the birth of his two children, was the birth of his three grandchildren: Logan, Abbey and Cash, who he spent many, many hours with.
Dan loved to record country western songs. But, most importantly, in his freshman year in high school, Danny was in FFA and was the top chicken judge in the state of Colorado. He correctly identified the layers and non-layers out of 50 chickens in 1967.
Dan spoke seven different languages and was a double agent in three different countries. Oops, that’s the next life.
Dan died after a life of excessive happiness and travel. He died Sept. 24, 2023. He was 71.
He is survived by Nancy, Ashlee (Mark) and Britney (Justin), and his three grandchildren, Logan, Abbey and Cash; his sisters, Violet Shaver, Rose (Richard) McFarland and Kathleen; and his brothers, Patrick (Patty) Kelley, Edward (Marilyn) Kelley, Robert (Sue) Kelley, David (Rosemary) Kelley, Jimmy (Janine) Kelley, all of Colorado, and Joseph (Jennie) Kelley of Indiana.  
There will be no service.  Dan’s final journey will be to the Custer Ranch in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota where his ashes will be placed.  
Donations can be made to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at jdrf.org.


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