Michael J. Kelly

Date of Birth

October 18, 1941

Date of Death

July 31, 2019

It is with great sadness that the family of Michael J. Kelly, 77, announces his passing on July 31, 2019 at Serenity House in Santa Barbara. Mike was born on October, 18, 1941 in Chicago, IL. After WW II, in 1948 his parents moved the Kelly family to Santa Barbara.

Honor, was the touchstone of Mike’s life. He was Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow. The scout oath “I will do my best, to do my duty to God, and my country” informed Mike’s whole life. He inspired his two sons to be Eagle Scouts helping them build kayaks in their garage for Scout river trips.

Mike was a true patriot. He loved the American Flag and his country. His life was that of a self made man. With his own inner compass, strong character, a profound work ethic, and a self-forged expertise he attained many personal achievements and great business success.
Mike graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1960, playing football and learning life-long lessons from his early mentor, Coach Mike Moropoulos. After graduation, Mike married his high school sweetheart Sandra C. Hamman. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1960 extended to a fifth year to 1965 due to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Mike lived the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis – always faithful. It became his life mission, faithful to his family, and faithful to his lifelong friends, faithful to himself and his personal code.

At his funeral service on August 4, 2019, it was said of him, that above all, Mike was a Marine’s Marine. His strong sense of self-determination was evident in the Corps.

As a Marine Corps Radio and Communication Instructor Mike had the vision to recognize the importance of the new burgeoning TV Cable Industry. Honorably discharge from the Corps, he returned to Santa Barbara and started his own TV Cable System in Paradise, CA. In 1967 Mike moved his family to the San Francisco Bay Area to expand his cable systems. He commuted on weekends with his young family back and forth to Santa Barbara to grow his Paradise, CA first Cable System. Between 1968-1975, Mike owned and was President of Cable Kor Communication Corporation with a list of entities, and building over 20 Cable TV systems through out central and northern California. His 10 year plan accomplished in seven years.

During this time in the 1970’s he became one of the Directors of the Cable Television Authority, the governing and political organization for Cable TV in California which led Mike to Washington D.C. on several occasions to assist in the presentation of the “Cable Bill” to Congress. Passage of this Cable Bill began a defining precedent for the Cable TV industry and business in America.

By 1978, Mike realized the importance of Comprehensive Insurance for the growing Communication Industry. With his knowledge, expertise, and contacts in the Cable TV business Mike began a new successful insurance venture in the Bay area. In 1987, Mike returned to Santa Barbara. He founded Michael J. Kelly Insurance Agency as owner, agent, and broker of Custom Insurance for the Alarm and Communication Industry, for 35 years with clients throught the United States. Mike was an early advocate of Cyber Security Insurance. In early 2000, he created and gave presentations on Alarm IP-e Cyber Exposure and Risk noting that early reports of cyber breaches were just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the future. He was an early pioneer in Cyber Insurance. In his life, Mike was always ahead of the curve anticipating new technology.

In 1997, Mike married Barbara Nagelmann Lumpkins. Together, they enjoyed traveling to the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii, Alaska, and throughout the U.S. returning to his Yosemite Nat’l Park often. He loved building projects on their Mission Canyon hilltop home. When their home was threatened by the 2009 Jesuita fire, Mike held his ground refusing to leave. Along with the Fire Dept, he fought and saved their home. Marines don’t leave the field, they hold their ground. This act is symbolic of Mike’s favorite life phrase: “Not Yes, But Hell Yes“.

Mike Kelly was a man of great compassion and kindness, with the rare gift of knowing how to listen. He was like a warm fire, always welcoming and encouraging. Mike believed one’s life should be led with honor and courage. His response to family when they sought his advice was wise and thoughtful. He would remind us to Kelly Up, and to be Kelly Strong. He was always our friend, our rock, and our champion.

In 2011, while trimming a tree, Mike fell, becoming a paraplegic. For eight years Mike’s warrior-like strong character, inner strength, grace under pressure, and perseverance were an inspiration to all who knew him. Mike’s life was a victory everyday, because he lived it that way. He lived his ethos to Kelly Up.

He was our hero.

Mike’s love, his sense of responsibility, dedication, great generosity, humor, and honor to his family and life long friends – is his lasting legacy. Being a loving husband, a loving father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, Mike said, – was his greatest life achievement.
For 33 years, Mike was faithful to his higher power. He requested that in his obituary the following words be stated and honored: Sobriety has no self life.

Mike took great pride in his family, especially his grandchildren, and their accomplishments. On birthdays Mike would say to each family member that he “celebrated the unique spirit in each of us”. We celebrate his great generosity of heart, his profound loving, and unique spirit. He will be greatly missed. We will miss his family BBQs, his meaningful U.S. Marine code for action “HooRah”, his love of autumn leaves, his love of space travel, his blessings at meals, and his great love of celebrating holidays at home with his family by a roaring fireplace.

Mike Kelly and his life will be deeply cherished always, by all who knew him. We stand proudly and gratefully to salute him, on his return to his creator and Starfleet mother ship.

Godspeed Michael J. Kelly!

Mike is survived by his wife, Barbara Anne Nagelmann Kelly, his brother William L. Kelly of Santa Cruz, CA, his sisters, Penny Collard and Paula Kelly of Santa Barbara. His nephew, Dennis Collard of Atlanta, GA, the mother of Mike’s children: Sandra Carol Hamman Kelly of Santa Barbara, their four children David Kelly of Redding, CA, Barbara Kelly of Templeton, CA, Christopher Kelly, and his daughter-in-law Karen Nielsen Kelly of Santa Barbara, daughter, Susan Kelly Dvortcsak and his son-in-law Mischa Dvortscak, of Ojai, CA. His grandchildren, Bryce and Ryan Kelly, Mahreya Conejo-Kelly, Dawson, Patrick, and Charlotte Kelly, Niko, Eli, and Brody Dvortcsak, His step daughters Delicia Lumpkins and her son, Kristian of Santa Barbara. and Stacey Scott, and her children Hayden, Chloe, and Avery of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Mike’s Chicago, IL cousins: the Kuchuris, Sinoris, and Caraher families.


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