Larry Steven Kelley, age 70, succumbed to a short, yet difficult fight with cancer in the early morning hours of June 13th 2019. He died in his home just outside of Bakersfield, Kern County, California with loved ones at his side.
“Steve,” as he liked to be called, was born in Hugo, Choctaw County, Oklahoma on July 25, 1948 to O.V. and Ruby (Songer) Kelley. He was the only son born of this union, with six sisters. Steve attended and graduated from Arvin High School, Arvin, Kern, California; and just shortly afterward was drafted into the US Army to serve his nation during the Vietnam War from 1968-1970. Not long after returning home, Steve married Jenny Rose Ennis in October of 1971. This union brought them two lovely daughters—Jennea (b. 1975) and Jayne (b. 1977). His second marriage was in June of 1985 to Traci Le Sparks. This marriage produced four sons—Andrew (b. 1986), Sean (b. 1988), Bryce (b. 1990), and Zachary (b. 1995). He spent the last few years of life in the company of his dear friend and partner Debbie Smith.
Throughout his adult life, Steve used his wonderful mechanical intelligence to do various jobs taking care of properties, including schools, apartment complexes, and a cemetery. He was a skilled grounds person, painter, and repairperson. He liked to spend time by himself, preferably in the great outdoors, or with close family. It brought him great joy to be able to give service to others by helping to fix or take care of something that had special value to them. Some of his favorite pastimes were camping with his sons, trips to the Central California Coast, or vacations later in life in the camper trailer to see his daughters and their families in Oklahoma.
Steve is survived in life by his partner Debra Smith of Bakersfield, CA; in addition to both wives: Jenny Worrell of Okemah, OK and Traci (Eric) Elmore of San Antonio, TX. His surviving children are: daughters Jennea (Craig) McEwin and Margaret “Jayne” Wilbourn of Okemah, OK; and sons Steven “Andrew” Kelley and Sean Kelley of Bakersfield, CA, Bryce Kelley of Los Osos, CA, and Zachary Kelley of San Antonio, TX. He is also survived by 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild; one half-brother, Jerry (Pattie) Kelley of Bakersfield, CA; and 6 sisters, Judy (Kathy Calley) Frick, Kathy Kelley, Leslie (Russell) Johnson, Tammy (Max) Gressman of Bakersfield, CA; Susan (Roger) Sanders of Oregon, and Shirley Heyart of Seattle, WA.
Steve was proceeded in death by both parents, William O. “O.V.” and Ruby Aline (Songer) Kelley, and his half-brother, Bobby Joe Kelley of Antlers, OK.
Steve’s ashes will be laid to rest at Bakersfield National Cemetery, 30338 East Bear Mountain Blvd, Arvin, California, in Kern County during a service on Tuesday July 9th 2019 at 9:15 AM. His cremation was provided by Kern River Family Mortuary.