Floyd “Al” Kelsey
Oct. 9, 1926-Dec. 9, 2013
Floyd Alvin Kelsey, 87, of Brookings, passed away Dec. 9, 2013, at home with family by his side.
Al was born Oct. 9, 1926, in Los Angeles, to James Clayton and Mary Belle (Collins) Kelsey. When Al was about 4 years old, the family moved to Half Moon Bay, Calif., where his father was the minister of the Methodist Church.
At an early age Al demonstrated his independence. A young friend came to pick Al up for his first day at school. When his mom asked if they would like her to go with them, Al replied “Nah, only babies go to first day of school with their mothers.” Thus began many adventures. In those days the students’ desks had a hole in one corner which held a bottle of ink with a rubber stopper in the top. Al wondered what would happen if a piece of dry ice was placed in the inkwell, so just before recess he put the ice in the inkwell and jammed the stopper down. He was halfway out the door when he heard a scream “ALVIN.” That rubber stopper had flown off and hit the ceiling 14 feet up! The teacher said “What do you have to say for yourself?” He replied,” My desk is a mess; I better clean it up.” Al was later sent to the principal’s office.
Al had a yearning for entrepreneurship at an early age. He sold “healing salve” door-to-door to earn the money for a bicycle. He then took on a paper route, then another. He eventually had three routes.
Fascination with an old Underwood typewriter prompted the eighth- grader to teach himself typing so he could write and publish a school paper. That experience led to a series of newsletters and publications in his later years of employment.
During his sophomore year the family moved to Modesto, Calif. After school he worked as a soda jerk. At age 16 he worked part time at the Rexall Drug lunch counter where he became manager that summer. Other part time jobs included selling men’s suits and furniture.
Al graduated in 1944. In 1945 he was drafted into the U.S. Army. His induction in San Francisco could not be completed the day he arrived. The next day the U.S. Navy wanted two men, and so off to boot camp he went. Al was assigned to the carrier escort USS Copahee CVE. He served as a photographer. Al was honorably discharged in 1946.
Al returned to Modesto and married his fiancee Beverly June Kessler on Aug. 11, 1946. Three children were born — Anne, Joan, and Jim. They later divorced.
In 1954 Al went to work for the Pacific Telephone Co. Prior to retirement he was involved in public affairs, handling city and county legislation.
Al married Leta Lumsden Brown on July 16, 1965, in Sacramento, Calif. This brought three stepsons to the family — Jim, Don and Rick Brown. One of Al’s favorite sayings was “we have his and hers but they are all ours.” The newlyweds built their first dream home and purchased rental properties.
In 1980 Al and Leta both retired from the telephone company. That year they sailed on a 29-day cruise to Australia on the Pacific Princess. The cruise left them with the desire to see the United States. When they got home they purchased a motorhome and went on a six-month trip that lasted 14 months. Upon their return to Sacramento they decided to become full time RVers and ordered a Foretravel motorhome. For the next seven and half years they traveled the continental U.S. missing only North Dakota and Kansas. They met many lifelong friends.
They passed through Brookings many times, and in 1989 they purchased 7 1/2 acres and began developing their home there. Al and Leta treasured the family and friends who visited; someone was always coming or going.
In the 1980s Al developed as the family computer expert. He was also skilled in many phases of construction: He built waterfalls, made furniture and could fix almost anything. He had a unique relationship with all kids; they used to call him “Uncle Al, the kiddies’ pal.” He would always get a big smile from youngsters when he spoke to them as Donald Duck.
Al spent many hours developing the Kelsey family genealogy — Kelsey Kronicles — dating back to 1630, leaving two volumes for his heirs. Al was a member of Brookings Elks 1934.
When sitting down to write this obituary after much struggle Al’s own words and thoughts were used.
Together Al and Leta made a great team for 48 years. Theirs was a joyous union. Al’s passing has left a tremendous void in the family, but they remember he is always with them.
Al is survived by his wife Leta; children Anne (Roy) Keeling, Grover Beach, Calif., Joan (Ralph) Miller, Murphys, Calif., Jim (Vikki) Kelsey, Avila Beach, Calif., Jim (Jan) Brown, Folsom, Calif., Don Brown, Brookings, and Rick (Vicky) Brown, Brookings.
Also surviving are 13 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, a great-great-grandson and many nieces, nephews and good friends.
Al was preceded in death by his father, mother, brother Don, sister Ruth and grandson Jeff Boone.
The family would like to thank Dr. Mark Silver, his staff and the Coastal Home Health & Hospice team for their care and caring.
A Celebration of Al’s Life will be held at a later date.
Submitted by his family.