David L. Kelly

David L. Kelly

June 25, 1945 – July 29, 2020


David L. Kelly, age 75, passed away peacefully at home on July 29, 2020.  He was born June 25, 1945 in Centralia, Illinois and grew up in Ravenna, and later, Kearney, Nebraska.  He married his high school sweetheart, Rochelle “Rocky” Billings, and they celebrated 55 years of marriage last month.  To this union two sons were born, Pat and Brian.

Dave was respected and loved by his family and friends.  Known by many, he was a husband, dad, grandpa, son, brother, uncle, cancer survivor, bandmate, baseball coach, teacher, mentor, and friend.  As their biggest fan, he greatly enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren do the things that they loved.

Dave was an electrical contractor and owned Kelly Electric in Kearney with Rocky for 35 years, having acquired it from his father who started the business in 1950.  Together, they built it to be a highly respected company in the region.

Dave was a life-long drummer and played in a variety of bands from rock-and-roll to praise and worship.  He was also a talented artist working with several media including oil painting, airbrush, leather tooling, woodworking, drawing, and photography.  Known for his personal car collection, which included several vehicles over the years, he was most proud of his 1964 Corvette Stingray “Ghost” and the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air he restored with his sons.  In the late 1980s, Dave was co-founder of Kearney’s Cruise Nite.

In 1990, Dave’s identity and focus changed when he committed his life to following Jesus Christ, which would positively impact all those around him including his family and business.  His faith remained strong until the end as he poured himself into studying the Word of God and preparing for the forthcoming meeting with his savior.

Dave is survived by his wife, Rocky; his sons, Pat (Jenny) and Brian (Andrea); and grandchildren: Sean (20), Lindsey (17), and Jackson (11); as well as his siblings: Connie Gappa, Bob Kelly (Gladys), Ruth Ann Young, Mike Carter (Lisa), Bill Carter (Lois), Mary Kaye Swinford (Stephen), and Phil Carter (Karen); and several nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, W.C. and Leona Kelly and Harold Carter, and his brother, Jackie Carter.

Please join us in celebrating Dave’s life on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 10:30am at New Life Church in Kearney, Nebraska.  For the safety of all attendees, we kindly request that you wear a face mask and practice social distancing.  If you are unable to be present but would like to take part in the service, it will be live broadcasted at https://youtu.be/kAF0UbxGu-o.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Madonna Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska at www.madonna.org/donate.



  • Shirley Winter Posted August 6, 2020 9:17 am

    Prayers for you and your family.

  • Michael Collins Posted August 6, 2020 11:56 am

    Rocky, Pat and Brian
    I am so sorry for your loss. Dave was such an amazing person and so glad I had the opportunity to know. Thinking of you and your families in this time.

  • Allen/Nancy Hammar Posted August 6, 2020 7:06 pm

    See you in Heaven. You and rocky were our closest friends. May Christ’s peace and comfort surround you!

  • Dan & Tracy Cooney Posted August 6, 2020 8:22 pm

    Our prayers are with the entire family, we rejoice to know he is with his lord and savior!!

  • Mitch Gunther Posted August 7, 2020 4:07 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I always enjoyed visiting with Dave, he constantly had a great positive attitude. God Bless

  • Bob Karr Posted August 7, 2020 6:07 pm

    So sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. He was a great influence and band mate. He will be missed!

  • Charles Werp Posted August 7, 2020 9:32 pm

    Hope too see you in heaven.

  • Archie Canas Posted August 9, 2020 9:02 pm

    Rocky, Pat and family

    I’m sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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