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OBA mourns passing of former OBA chairman

Oklahoma lost a longtime leader this week with the passing of Tracy Kelly. Kelly, 85, was chairman of the board of SpiritBank, a bank his father helped to build in Bristow.

Kelly was a lifelong banker after serving four years as 1st Lt. USAR Artillery in Korea. He was a past director and member of the Defense Orientation Conference Association in Washington D. C. He also had a long and distinguished record in public service and leadership in Oklahoma.

He was past president of the Bristow Rotary Club; Bristow Chamber of Commerce; Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, where he also served as Director; Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce; Oklahoma Council of Economic Education; and Oklahoma Bankers Association, where he was also a past chairman.

Kelly was a member of the Governing Council of the American Bankers Association; founding director and treasurer of the Mid America Automated Clearing House in Kansas City; Bristow Industrial Authority; Creek County Industrial Authority; and Advisory Council of the Small Business Administration in Washington D.C.

Kelly also believed in and made significant contributions in higher education. He served on the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges; was past chairman on the Board of Regents for Rogers State College; was past chairman, Board of Trustees for the University of the Ozarks; and founding board member of Central Vocational Technical School in Drumright.

Kelly was a graduate of New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, N.M., where he was a two time commander of cadets; earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from the University of Oklahoma; did post graduate work at Harvard; and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of the Ozarks.

In a message to the family, Gov. Mary Fallin said, “I am so sorry to learn of Tracy's passing. He was such a joy to know and so easy to talk to. He left his mark on Oklahoma and left a wonderful legacy with the Kelly name. Please extend to your family my thoughts and prayers.”

“Oklahoma lost a leader and a wonderful person yesterday,” OBA President Roger Beverage said. “Tracy Kelly was an incredible human being and one of the most inspirational people it has ever been my privilege to know. His gentle kindness and manner went along with his strong belief in the ministry of banking, and Oklahoma is a better place today for having been served by Tracy Kelly. He will be missed very much.”

“With an impressive list of service to his communities, state and nation, it is an understatement to say that my dad was a major force of leadership and economic development. He leaves behind great legacies,” said his daughter, Joy Kelly. “My dad's contributions were far greater than what could be listed on paper. His spirit of kindness, hospitality, humor, optimism and care for others were his hallmarks.”

According to his nephew, Albert C. “Kell” Kelly, Jr., who is CEO of SpiritBank, “His goodness and belief always in a better tomorrow reflected an optimism that was both contagious and inspiring. Tracy made us all better. He will be sorely missed.

“The bank was less than $5 million in assets when Tracy took the helm in 1960, today, we are nearly $1 billion in assets and much of this growth can be attributed to Tracy's desire to see people's dreams come true. He often referred to his profession as 'the ministry of banking' and he lived it every day whether it was lending money or a helping hand, visiting customers or employees in the hospital – however he could help, he was there.”

Tracy Kelly leaves behind his beloved wife of 48 years, Polly, daughter Faith and her husband Bill Clune, daughter Hope and her husband Don Dobias, daughter Joy Kelly and partner Rebecca Howard. He leaves three grandchildren, Cloie Dobias, Elleon Dobias and Marshall Clune. An 11a.m. worship service will be held at the Bristow Presbyterian church on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Due to limited seating there, a state and community wide celebration of his life will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Feeland Center in Bristow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to: Bristow Presbyterian Church, 200 W. 6th, Bristow, OK; College Hill Presbyterian Church, 712 S. Columbia Ave., Tulsa, OK; and/or the Oklahoma Library for the Blind, 300 NE 18th St., Oklahoma City, OK.

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