Henry Clay Kelley

August 30, 1925 ~ December 20, 2020 (age 95)


Henry Clay (H.C.) Kelley, 95, of Heber Springs, Arkansas died December 20, 2020 at his home of natural causes. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Tommie Lenehan Kelley, his daughters Becky Kelley Gorman (Neal Gorman), and Kay Kelley Arnold, and his son Henry Clay (Hank) Kelley, Jr. (Stephanie Dailey Kelley).  Survivors also include his six grandchildren Blythe Kelley Gorman, Caroline Gorman, Natalie Kelley Lueders (Dave), Jonathan Clay Kelley (Margaret), Nicholas Edward Kelley (Kadee), and Grace Kelley Mickelson (Luke), and nine great grandchildren Grant Lueders, Leigh Ellen Lueders, Edgar Kelley, Gweneth Kelley, Pauline Kelley, Jack Kelley, Luke Kelley, Noah Mickelson, and Lila Mickelson.

Mr. Kelley is also survived by his brother-in-law John Lenehan (Charlotte), his sister-in-law Betty Jo Hall, nephews John Gregg (Julie), Stan Lee (Rita), Louis Lee (Jean Anne), John Stokes (Vernice), Jim Stokes (Phyllis), Sam Stokes (Ruth), Steve Bell (Glenda), David Bell (Mary Ann), Brent Bell (Deb),  John Hall (Karen), John D. Lenehan (Sarah) and nieces Carolyn Buchanan (Jim), Jody Lambert, Susan Campbell Norton (Mack), Terry Campbell Dilday (Tony), and Nancy Lenehan Kirby (Jeff). 

Mr. Kelley is predeceased by his father and mother, Leland Stanford and Grace Rorie Kelley, his three sisters Johnie Gregg (Charles), Anadene Lee (Richie), and Wanda Johnson as well as his son-in-law Richard Sheppard Arnold.

Born in Big Flat, Arkansas on August 30, 1925, Kelley and his family moved to Heber Springs in 1935.   After graduating from Heber Springs High School, he attended Arkansas State Teachers College, where he played basketball, baseball, and football.  Kelley moved back to Heber Springs to join his father in his wholesale distribution business, the Kelley Oil Company.  After 30 years, he sold his company and started Heber Springs Realty.  Kelley encouraged his son, Hank, to get involved in real estate as a career and mentored him until his death.  After retirement from Heber Springs Realty, he continued to manage his real estate interests.

Mr. Kelley was a deacon of First Baptist Church of Heber Springs, where he attended for 66 years.  He was a Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow.  Kelley was appointed to the Cleburne County Board of Equalization, where he served for more than twenty years.  He loved all sports, especially baseball, basketball, football, golf, and quail hunting.  Beginning in 1946, Kelley coached the Heber Springs High School football and basketball teams.  Into the early 1950s, he was a player on the Heber Springs Merchants baseball team.  In the 1960s, following development of Eden Isle and the Red Apple Country Club, Kelley enjoyed many golf outings with family and friends. He considered himself lucky in life and on the golf course, evidenced by his six hole-in-ones.  Kelley was an active golfer well into his 80s. 

The Kelley family would like to thank all of the doctors, nurses, therapists, and home health aides who made it possible for him to stay at home during his illness, including White River Area Agency on Aging, Amedisys, Home Instead, and   Arkansas Hospice - Conway. Aides Mandy, Heather, Peggy, Whitney, Cindy, Teresa, Tammara, Amanda, Barbara, Robert, and Nikki gave him loving care and they are most appreciated.

Due to the COVID pandemic and our desire that all friends and family stay safe and healthy, no visitation, funeral or memorial service planned.  A private family graveside service will be held at Cleburne County Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Arkansas Hospice Foundation – Conway division, 14 Parkstone Circle, North Little Rock, AR  72116, or to the Food Pantry at First Baptist Church of Heber Springs, 201 North 4th Street, Heber Springs, AR 72543.

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