Donald Miner Kelly
Donald Miner Kelly was born November 11, 1937 to Patrick Joseph Kelly and Doris (Miner) Kelly in his parent’s home in Quinn, SD. He attended grade school through high school in Quinn and graduated in 1956. He started college in Chadron, NE but quit after his father’s death to come home and take over the family ranch. While living in Quinn, he fell in love with Gloria Joan Pipal. After returning from New Mexico and a failed attempt at marriage (Donny was too young and could not get a marriage license) they were married June 9, 1957. They celebrated 47 plus years of marriage until Gloria’s death in 2005. To this union they were blessed with 6 children, Patrick (Carla), Kim, James (Kiya), Kristy, Dawn (Troy), and Jason (Cher).
Donny was an entrepreneur. He built a motel, two gas stations, a drive in restaurant, and put together a cattle ranch. He also worked in the sale barn, bought and sold cattle, drove truck, and was a licensed real estate agent.
Donny was active in the American Ag movement and he participated in the tractorcade to Washington, DC in the 1970s. He was an early proponent of ethanol products and blended it with gasoline for sale at his gas station in Wall, SD. He was one of, if not the first, to blend fuel in SD using ethanol instead of wood alcohol (methane). This station was one of the largest volume station in 1976 and sold over 6,000 gallons of fuel per day in the month of July. Don introduced many young people to the work force. He hired countless high schoolers to work in the summers and paid good wages.
Donny also dabbled in politics. He held many positions and was the youngest County Commissioner in SD (at the time) for Pennington County. He served on the Central States Fair Board for many years. He was also president of the Association of National Grasslands and spent time in Washington, DC. Don was a member of the Pennington Farm Bureau and served on the board for 15 years, 10 of which was president.
Don was invited to join the Western SD Buckaroos in 1974, becoming a member in 1975 and eventually became a Senior Life member. He was a devoted Catholic and a longtime member of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wall. Don was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Don and Gloria raised their own children but also welcomed many young people under their wings. Wayne Shull, Kelly Lambert, Stevie Saunders (Kjerstad), Brady O’Rourke, Susie Votroubek (Cuppy), and many others were included in this group.
After Gloria’s death, Don made a new friend in Jean Reese. They traveled, played cards, and enjoyed one another’s company until Don’s passing. No one was a stranger to Don Kelly. If he didn’t know you that would change in minutes. He struck up conversation and you were either friends or acquaintances when he left the room. Don knew everyone around Quinn, Wall, Philip, and probably most of western SD.
Grateful for having shared his life include two sons Dr. Pat Kelly and his wife Carla of Bowman, North Dakota, and Jason Kelly and Cher of Cheyenne, Wyoming; one daughter Dawn Richter and her husband Troy of Quinn; eleven grandchildren, Kaitlyn Kelly (Jed Hendricksen), Megan (Chris) Pederson, Erin (Ryan) Huber, Paiton Kelly, Dalton (Jennifer) Richter, Kelsey (Trevor) Hupp, Trey Richter, Cameron Richter, Taylor (Brayden) Fitch, and Jordan and Colton Kelly; seven great-grandchildren, Ellis, Henrik, Harvey, Tully, Karson, Myles and Raelyn; brother Patrick Kelly (Linda); daughter-in-law Kiya Kelly; and special friend Jean Reese.
Don was preceded in death by his wife Gloria on February 1, 2005; daughter Kristy Kelly; sons Kim and James Kelly; grandson Jori Dean Kelly; brother Robert Kelly and his parents.
A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, October 14 with a prayer service at 7 p.m. at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wall.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 15 at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wall.
Burial will follow at the Wall Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to the Western South Dakota Buckaroos and the Quinn Volunteer Fire Department.