Donald Arthur Kelly, native Floridian, retired NASA engineer, and long-time resi dent of Orlando and Merritt Island, died Saturday, October 18, at his home in Merritt Island where he had lived for over 45 years. He had pancreatic cancer and was 78 years old. Mr. Kelly was a man who wore many hats and had many diverse interests. He was an engineer for the space program, photographer, water sports enthusiast, orchid and horticul turist hobbyist, motorcycle and car enthusiast, entrepreneur, musician, and a family man. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Katherine Harding Kelly; his three children and their families, including five grandchildren – Donald Andrew Kelly and Joy H. Kelly of Hous ton, Texas, Kenneth Paul Kelly and his children, Andrew, Laura Leigh, and Austin Kelly of Orlan do; and Nancy Carole Kelly and Timothy Bohan and their chil dren, Joseph and Patrick Bohan of San Francisco; and sister-in- law Audrey Harding of Orlando. Don Kelly was born in Lake Wales and raised in Orlando. He became interested in music at a young age, and by the fourth grade he was invited to join the Orlando High School band. Don played the clarinet, saxophone, and flute. He also developed a talent for water skiing and during the 1940s he could be found practicing with his friends from Cypress Gar dens Water Ski Shows, which at the time was known as the “Water Ski Capitol of the World.” Don mastered slalom and trick skiing and continued his love for the sport for many years. Dons interest in water sports ranged from water skiing, boating, and deep-sea fishing. He spent many weekends on the beautiful waters of Florida with his family. Don continued to perform with the band at Orlando High School (OHS), where he graduated in 1947. He then attended The Citadel, in South Carolina, earning a degree in Electrical Engineering, all the while enjoying playing with the col lege marching and symphony bands. After graduating, he served in Korea and Japan during the Korean War, installing electrical lines. Don attended graduate school at Georgia Tech, earning his masters degree in engi neering. He was selected to attend a yearlong international program for Power engineers in Schenectady, New York, and subsequently spent the next 10 years working for Florida Power and Light Com pany in Miami, where he met his wife Kay. NASA recruited Don in the very early years of the space program at Cape Canaveral. He moved his family to Merritt Island, where he worked on projects ranging from Apollo to Skylab to Shut tle until his retirement. In the 1970s, Don delved into car mechanics and motor cycles, first as a hobby then as a business. While still an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center, he opened his own motorcycle business in Cocoa, Florida, which he and his family operated for several years. Later, in his garage at home, he built his own car from the ground up. Don didnt let his technical career interfere with his crea tive endeavors. He was an avid photographer long before the age of digital photography – developing and printing his own photos at home. He had a longstanding interest in hor ticulture, especially for citrus trees and orchids. Later in life, he maintained a greenhouse of award winning orchids, and found much pleasure in pho tographing his unique and beautiful species. After retire ment, Don became an active member of the Platinum Coast Orchid Society, and participated in many orchid shows. His love for music contin ued throughout his life. He taught all three of his children to play instruments, and was an active band parent, serving as president of the band par ents at the local schools in Merritt Island. Don played clarinet and served as an early president for the Brevard Community Band. His musical influence continues to be demonstrated by grandchil dren, who are active in music. Up until the time of his death, Don was still attending the musical performances of his son and grandchildren. Private family services will be held. Tags: 1951

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