Fredrick Rheul Kelly
Jan 08, 1943 – Jun 04, 2018
Fred Kelly died at home on June 5, 2018 after a long and brave battle with COPD. He was 75. Born in Boise, Idaho on January 8, 1943 to Virgil and Margaret Kelly, Fred moved with his family to California when he was 7, settling in Modesto where he lived until his retirement in 2008.
In 1960 Fred joined the Navy, spending four years leading a team of air craft mechanics, wintering at Naval Air Station Fallon. An avid dirt bike rider, Fred learned to love the high desert. Upon leaving the Navy, Fred returned to Modesto, earning an AA degree from Modesto Junior College in 1969. Fred had a varied early career, ranging from motorcycle mechanic instructor, commercial pilot, comptroller, production manager, scuba instructor (where he met his wife of almost 39 years, Tina Carlsen) and commercial diver.
Fred began a 23 year career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1985. As an engineering associate, Fred supported numerous high-profile projects, including the last down-hole nuclear test shots at the Nevada Test Site. His work with the Forensic Science Center led to numerous patents, and he developed nuclear terrorism response technologies and trained Army response teams on their use. Fred prided himself on being able to solve problems others could not.
Fred was an avid skier and hiker. He also enjoyed flying friends and family throughout California and Nevada, trips which could prove unexpectedly exciting. Fred and Tina enjoyed traveling throughout the southwest in their motorhome. Fred learned to play Irish whistle and pipes in his later years, becoming active in the Modesto Irish music scene.
Fred returned to northern Nevada upon retirement, moving with Tina to Minden. Here he enjoyed riding his numerous motorcycles and four-wheeler, hanging out with his buddies swapping old stories, and frequenting area restaurants with Tina. Fred was the number one fan of the local Irish music band, Ciana, with whom Tina plays fiddle. During his final years, Tina took Fred regularly to Harriett’s Café for lunch, where the staff treated him like family.
Fred is survived by his wife Tina, who cared for him at home until his death; sister Kathleen Lander; nieces Kelly Ann Winter and Julia Lander; nephews Robert Kelly and Jim Kelly; son Kevin Kelly and grand-daughter Renee Kelly.
He was preceded in death by his parents, step-mother Lillian Kelly, and brothers Roland, Verland and Charles.
A celebration of Fred’s life will be held on June 19 in the gazebo at 1869 David Walley’s Hot Springs and Resort in Genoa, Nevada at 3 pm, followed by an Irish wake.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent the American Lung Association in Fred’s name.