Donald Leo Kelso, 42, of Boyne City, MI was lifted to heaven on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Donny was born December 14, 1977, in Cheboygan, MI to Donald and Jeanine (Mollen) Kelso. He grew up in Mackinaw City and had many fond memories with childhood friends and Kelso/Mollen aunts, uncles, and cousins.
During his adventurous life, Donny lived in Mt. Pleasant, Florida, Petoskey, Missouri, Cheboygan, and Grand Rapids; and lived in Boyne City for the past several years, which felt like “home” to him with a community that welcomed him.
Donny loved kayaking, gardening and taking pride in his little home, and truly loved working his jobs at Cafe Sante and Whi-Ski Inn, which is why he often went several days in a row without a day off.
He didn’t like to be alone and therefore created for himself a community of friends wherever he went. Donny loved his children and grandchildren and held them in his heart, and cherished all the time he was able to spend with them.
Donny is survived by his father Donald Kelso and brother Marty Kelso of Mackinaw City, sisters Lynne (Gary) Lesky of Harbor Springs and Lisa Kelso (Shilo Roberts) of Indian River, children Trent Kelso (Jaqulyn Love) and Gage Kelso (Nichole McKeon) of Eugene, Oregon, Chelsey Sheldon of Harbor Springs, and Asher Kelso of Wolverine, and his grandchildren Jace Sheldon, Savannah Kelso, and Journey Kelso who were the light of his life, nieces Emily and Annie Lesky, nephews Landon Kelso-Roberts and Matt & Mike Lesky, and Donny was very proud to have begun a relationship by phone and messaging with another teenage son Jackson, whom he was planning to meet in person soon.
He was preceded in death by his loving mother Jeanine Kelso in 2011.
Shared by many friends and family: Don had the biggest heart with room in it for everyone he met. He touched so many with his kind, gentle and loving manner and generous heart. He was always himself and wasn’t afraid to show it.
He loved music because it brought him happiness and a connection to others and was a way to reveal himself.
His voice was a humble yet vibrant song, his laugh brought warmth, his absence is numbing.
He took a piece of all our hearts with him when he rose to a greater place.
Donnie loved his kids and the rest of his family.
He was intelligent, funny and definitely lived life on his terms.
He was the kind of person who would teach you something with every conversation you’d have with him.
Many will remember his great sense of humor, his kindness, and his overwhelming love for Bernie Sanders.
His passion for politics and social justice had a profound influence on many, many people, and he lived by Bernie’s motto, “Not me. Us.” He did what he could to help others.
He was fearless, funny, and smart as hell…a true, great friend to all. Donny, Don, Donnie – you were an amazing person and someone who was always ‘down to hang’ and talk about life in general.
Every single person who loved you and was your friend had their own special friendship and connection with you.
You touched all of us. Don, you truly were one of the good ones.
You were so passionate about work, about your friends, about your family and just life in general. You were always there to help when anyone needed it and was always there making it fun.
You were a very impressionable man.
You were a really good person that the world needed. I’m glad my life crossed paths with yours.
You will be sorely missed as will your selfless humanity and fearless convictions.
You will be missed, your quick wit, kind heart, great political views and the ability to make everyone laugh.
Your beautiful, loud beliefs often made me think.
You and I often had different perspectives, but my relationship with you truly taught me to appreciate and admire and most importantly enjoy the company of a human that doesn’t share my perspective.
You left so many hurting hearts in the wake of your leaving.
This is the mark of a good dude. You’ll always be loved and remembered.
My dad often expressed how his heart would just melt every time he got to see Journey.
My dad used to randomly ask me to send him photos of Savannah, any time he was having a bad day and she loved to video chat with him and see his photos.
He was so good with her and was all sorts of excited to be a Grandpa.
Dad, I’m gonna miss all the memories we made over this last summer.
I loved you so much, I never imagined that you’d be gone so soon.
I’ll love you forever and ever dad.
You were an amazing Grandpa to Jace.
My crazy, fun-loving Uncle Donny…you will be missed by so many.
I wish we could go back to Blissfest and dance our hearts out at third stage to the Way Down Wanderers again.
Your love of good food, the best music, and politics will never be forgotten.
Thanks for being the fun uncle, the one who always kept us guessing and always made us worry.
You looked at life so differently than I did and challenged me to be something other than the norm.
It’s unreal to think I won’t be able to talk to you about politics, how messed up the world is, or quality sad music.
I admired you more than you would ever believe.
A memorial service will be planned and held in Boyne City as soon as government mandate allows.