Lawrence (Larry) Kelley, 69, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on December 3, 2022, at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa from complications of Esophagus Cancer. He was born in 1953 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Joseph and Ellen Kelley.
Larry went to St Ludmila Catholic School, Wilson Junior High School and was a 1971 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School. After graduation he went on to Kirkwood Community College to their Automotive Collision Repair. Larry started to be involved in cars at a young age by working for a local gas station, Salvage Yard, and getting involved in being a pit crew member on a friend’s race car. As a young adult Larry started his own body shop “Kelley’s Auto Body” which he enjoyed until he retired in 2017. Larry also was a Race Car Driver of his own Late Model and IMCA Modified for many years. He raced at several Race Tracks throughout the Midwest winning trophies and Track Championship.
When Larry retired he liked to spend his winters at his AZ home with his wife. Enjoying the sun, lake, car shows and making new friends. He built a new shop in the back yard so he could still build cars. He was last working on a 1970 C10 Chevy Truck that he was customizing.
Larry was truly talented in many ways, he enjoyed building almost anything from building construction to his favorite building Hot Rods. If you had a vision about how you wanted your vehicle to look, he could make it happen.
Larry tried to instill great values into his children by teaching them education, honesty and hard work was important. Larry even had his kids involved in helping him at the body shop by sanding down chairs, working on cars and helping with parts. They even got to learn how to do a little landscaping by doing some weed wacking and rock placements.
Larry enjoyed life to the fullest by building and racing cars. Larry also loved to travel on his motorcycle and in his Hot Rods doing the Power Tour for many years.
Larry was a family man and really loved all of his family. He enjoyed raising his kids and spending time with his grandchildren. Larry loved the outdoors and going to car shows and pulling the kids and grandkids behind the boat. Camping and fishing with the kids was a joy and a challenge.
Larry was a kind but honest man, if he thought you needed help with something he would try to help you out. But if he thought you needed to hear his honest opinion you would not be spared hearing his thoughts.
Larry is survived by his, as he called her “his lovely wife Clara.” Sons: Toby (Jade) Kelley, LA (Paris) Kelley and Kyle (Jessie) Kelley, Daughter Jill Kelley. Stepdaughter Brandy (Brad Farmer) Miller, Stepson Daniel Miller. Sisters: Colleen Kelley, Kathy (Russ)Telecky, Brother Tim (Sharon) Kelley. Brothers-in-law Joe (Becky) Shreeves and Bruce Simpson, Sister-in-law Carol (Joe) Olmo. Many Nieces, Nephews, Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister Jo Ellen Simpson, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Larry will truly be missed by his friends, family, and the car community.
Donations for a Scholarship in Auto Body Collision may be sent to:
Kirkwood Foundation, Reference Lawrence (Larry) Kelley, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids Iowa 52404
Visitation: 4-7 PM, Friday, December 9, 2022, Cedar Memorial Chapel Stateroom. Funeral Service: 1:00 PM, Saturday, December 10, 2022, Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. A livestream of the funeral service may be accessed on the funeral home website under the obituary for Lawrence (Larry) Kelley, under the video tab starting at 1:00 PM, Saturday, December 10, 2022. Interment: Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery.