D.K. was born March 3, 1919 in St. Vrain, NM, the third of six boys born to Jeddy Lee and Stella (Key) Kelley. He crossed from this Earth on March 13, 2014. Graveside services will be held Tuesday, March 18 at 1:00 pm at South Park Cemetery with Pastor Tim Arlet officiating.
In addition to his parents, D.K. was preceded in death by his brothers; Edward, Forest, Artie Lee, Jack, Ellis and his granddaughter, Kelly-Rhea Boguslawski. He is survived by his wife, Georgia, daughter Kaye Jordan, granddaughter JoLeene Boguslawski and several nieces and nephews.
D.K. graduated from Clovis High School where he played football, basketball, ran track and was voted most popular boy. After graduation, he attended Hardin-Simmons college on a football scholarship for a year before returning to Clovis to marry his high school sweetheart Georgia Emmond, who was the football queen, drum majorette and his soul mate. April 22 would have marked their 75th wedding anniversary. Georgia survives him at the home. Following their marriage, D.K. and Georgia moved to Albuquerque where D.K. went to work driving a bus for Continental Trailways. Although his job allowed him to be exempt from military service, he and four of his brothers joined the Navy after hearing of their oldest brother’s death at Bataan Prison Camp. D.K. served on a minesweeper, the USS Execute. Following his honorable discharge in 1944, he returned to Albuquerque and his driver’s job. In that year, he also became a Free Mason joining Temple Lodge #6 and eventually a Shriner. He loved doing for others and participated in all Shriner fund raisers to help crippled children.
During his tenure with Trailways, he became involved in fleet safety and began taking college courses in traffic safety. Back problems caused him to leave his driving job. He then worked as Bernalillo County Road Superintendent. D.K. was always active in politics and served as Bernalillo County Democratic Chairman. In 199, he was appointed by Governor John Burroughs to be New Mexico State Traffic Safety commissioner, which also put him in charge of driver’s licenses and financial responsibility. He was reappointed to that position by Governors, Jack Campbell, Dave Cargo, Bruce King and Jerry Apadaca and remained in that position for 30 years. Among his many accomplishments as Safety Commissioner, were writing driver’s manuals, establishing the first legal blood alcohol levels and helping pass the mandatory helmet law for motorcycle drivers under the age of 18. He was influential passing laws to toughen DWI laws. He wrote, produced and directed a 20 minute instructional traffic safety movie which was shown in New Mexico high schools for many years. He brought the Defensive Driving program to the state of New Mexico and was the only instructor, instructing instructors, for 18 months. He was privileged to be included in a study conducted by Ralph Nadar to help determine the primary cause of death in an automobile crash. The study was very interesting and resulted in the automobile industry making many modifications to their products to make them safer. Prior to his retirement, he was elected as president of the Western States National Safety Council.
Most of his life, he was an avid fisherman and had visions of spending his retirement fishing in his favorite New Mexico streams. However, he took up two hobbies that changed that vision. He became a silversmith and a golfer. After retiring from state government, he and Georgia moved to Belen and became very active in the golf community. Together, they traveled many places in their motor home, always taking along their golf clubs, square dance clothes and fishing rods.
In 1997, they moved to Roswell to be closer to family. In Roswell, D.K. became involved with Shriners and joined Roswell Sertoma. He remained active making jewelry, playing golf, working for charitable causes his organizations sponsored until he began to experience health issues. D.K. was a very good friend and well-liked by all who knew him. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. He will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his name to Temple Lodge #6, 3801 Osuna Blvd. N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109.
Services are under the direction of Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home and Crematory. Please take a moment to share your thoughts and memories in the online register at andersonbethaby.com.