Mike Kelley

Date of Birth

September 26, 1967

Date of Death

May 17, 2024

Mike Kelley, an enduring icon of the Santa Barbara community, passed away peacefully on May 17 at the age of 56.

Born on September 26, 1967, Mike was a fourth-generation Santa Barbarian, the beloved son of Terry and Joyce Kelley. From a young age, he embodied the spirit and values of his hometown. He was the epitome of hard work and dedication, spending his early years working at local restaurants, coaching volleyball, lifeguarding, and working for his uncles’ construction companies. These formative experiences not only shaped his work ethic but also laid the foundation for his successful career as a concrete contractor.

Mike’s educational journey took him through Santa Barbara High School, SBCC, a life-changing semester in New Zealand, and finally to San Diego State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. It was in San Diego where he met the love of his life, Pat. They married in 1993, returning to their beloved Santa Barbara to start their family and build their life together.

In 1999, Mike founded Mike Kelley Construction, earning a sterling reputation for his integrity, fairness, expertise, and the quality of his work crews. He found joy in driving around town, checking on job sites, catching the waves, and connecting with his many friends in the construction industry. His passion for his work was matched only by his love for his community.

Mike and Pat were blessed with two wonderful children, Blake and Reese. As a father, Mike was devoted and loving, instilling in his children a strong moral code and a zest for life. Whether coaching on the sidelines of their football and volleyball games or cheering from the stands, Mike was a fixture at their sporting events, known for his enthusiastic support and encouragement. He took immense pride in watching Blake and Reese grow into remarkable young adults.

Mike’s passion for sports extended beyond his children. He was a dedicated athlete and an avid sports fan, with a particular love for football, volleyball, surfing and motocross. His memory for sports statistics was legendary, and he enjoyed sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with others. Mike also cherished his time on the water aboard the good ship Julia, which he co-owned with friends, spending countless hours fishing and surfing at the islands.

Cooking was another of Mike’s many passions. His home was a hub of activity, filled with the aroma of BBQs and pig roasts, and always open to friends and family. His backyard was a testament to his love for gardening, overflowing with vegetables, fruit trees, and plumerias, a vibrant display of his green thumb.

As he grew older, Mike found a new passion in fitness, becoming a fixture at his favorite gym in Summerland. He thrived on the camaraderie and competition, proving that you can indeed “win” at the gym. Even when he could no longer participate, he remained a constant presence, offering critiques and playful banter to his friends.

Mike was known for his unwavering principles and straightforward nature. His honesty was refreshing, and you always knew where you stood with him. Despite facing health challenges, Mike never succumbed to self-pity. He maintained an upbeat attitude, embracing meditation which profoundly transformed his outlook on life. This practice brought him a deeper understanding of himself and enriched his relationships with family and friends, providing a wellspring of strength during his health struggles.

Mike’s love for his family, his extensive circle of friends, and his town was evident in everything he did. He believed Santa Barbara was the best place on earth and took immense pride in being part of such a wonderful community.

A celebration of Mike’s life will take place later this summer. Those who wish to honor a life well-lived and a man deeply loved are welcome to join. Mike Kelley’s legacy will continue to shine brightly in the hearts of all who knew him, a testament to a life lived with passion, integrity, and love.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.