Michael J. Kelly

PORTAGE – Michael James Kelly, of Portage, passed away peacefully in his home on Monday evening, November 7. He was 66 years old.
Born February 19, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan, to Joseph and Catherine Kelly (McDonald), he was raised in Vassar, Michigan, until 1965, when the family moved to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
After graduating from McDonell High School in 1968, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1969 as a Machinist's Mate, working in the engine room of the USS Alamo (LSD-33). During two West Pacific cruises he sailed to Vietnam, Pearl Harbor, Guam, The Philippines, Japan, and Hong Kong. He served until 1972 and attained the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class.
In 1973 he was hired as a Maintenance Mechanic at the Columbia Energy Center, which was then still under construction. He worked at the power plant for 40 years, until his retirement in 2013.
In 1977 he married Mary Pat Helminiak of Eau Claire; together they had five children. He later married Kathleen Clark of Rio, Wisconsin.
Mike had an enormous love of music and played the tuba throughout his life; one of the greatest joys of his life was playing in the Dual County Community Band in Pardeeville, which he did for many decades and continued to do until the summer of 2016. He was also fond of fishing and made many canoe trips in the Canadian Boundary Waters with family and friends.
After his retirement Mike spent much time woodworking, beekeeping, camping, and reading. He had a great love of the Catholic Faith, which in his latter years became increasingly central in his life. In May of 2016 he married his close friend of many years, Jill Larson of Baraboo.
Mike's faith illuminated his struggle with cancer, and he understood that suffering is a gift from God, which, united to the sufferings of Christ, he offered daily for friends, family, and departed loved ones, including, in a particular way, his son Philip.
Mike radiated a joyful presence throughout his life, and his final days were marked by acceptance, peace, and contentment.
He is preceded in death by parents Joseph and Catherine, son Philip, brother Robert, and nephews Ryan and Thomas. He is survived by his wife Jill; siblings, William, John (Susan), Joseph (Maureen), Mary (Dale), and Ann; children Anne (Andrew), Elizabeth (Christopher), William (Megan), and Michael (Jill); grandchildren Gabriella, Cael, Hazel, Catherine, Cordelia, Michael, Adelaide, and Louisa; and stepsons, Thomas and Charles Larson.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Lisa Lepeak and staff, as well as all of the nurses and CNAs of Agrace HospiceCare for their extraordinary and devoted work. Fr. Jay Poster of Baraboo has also been a great friend and support in recent years.
The viewing will take place at Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage on Friday, November 25, from 4 to 8 p.m., with a brief prayer service (vigil) at 4 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Baraboo on Saturday, November 26, at 10 a.m., with the interment at St. Mary's Cemetery in Portage to follow at 1 p.m.



For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)