Houston, MN - Kevin T. Kelleher, 70 of Houston, MN passed away unexpectedly on Monday, November 25, 2019.
Kevin had the largest heart and never had too many people in his life to love. He was a fountain of great wisdom, incessant curiosity, wonderful perspective, and healthy skepticism. With an unparalleled way of making friends feel like family, he cherished and loved family above all things. A vibrant trouble maker in his youth, Kevin lived and learned from the book of Life. He was born on July 12, 1949 to Thomas and Mary (Corcoran) Kelleher. He was proud to serve the United States from 1967 to 1970 in the Army during the Vietnam War. As a combat veteran Kevin received a Bronze Star and 3 Air Medals of Valor. Kevin was a true patriot, worked hard for his community, and believed in leading by example. On October 28, 1979 Kevin married his life partner Janelle. In 1980 the couple moved to Janelle's home town of Houston, MN and then purchased the now Raptor Ridge Farm of Storer Valley in 1984. Kevin touched many lives in his varied and interesting jobs which included, but are not limited to, respiratory therapist, recycling coordinator, county commissioner, carpenter, and economic development coordinator, though his most cherished jobs were being a partner to his wife, father to his children and shepherd to their farm. He would like to be remembered for enjoying life and laughter, being a good friend, father and husband, and trying in his own small way to make the world a better place.
Kevin's motto was: "Life is good." And his life was good.
Kevin will be missed by his wife, Janelle; three Children: Cole (Nicole) Kelleher of Longmont, CO, Emma (Brian Beck) Kelleher of Breckinridge, CO, and Sinh (Lori) Gibbon of Witchita, KS; three grandchildren: Saterra, Tai, and Hunter; seven siblings: Mary Carol Smith, Michael Kelleher, Candace Liddy, Kerry Kelleher, Thomas Kelleher, Kathy Reich, and Sheila Kelleher; and by many loving nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends. Kevin was also survived by his loving mother-in-law Joye Fitting who passed away Friday, November 29, 2019.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
There will be a visitation for Kevin from 4:00 to 8:00pm on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at Hoff Funeral and Cremation Service in Houston, MN. A Celebration of his Life will take place later this coming spring.
Memorials are preferred to any Veteran's program of your choice, National Public Radio (NPR), and the Commonweal Theatre Company of Lanesboro, MN.
Leave a memory of Kevin and sign his online guestbook at www.hofffuneral.com
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Deepest sympathies to Kevin's family. I was lucky to get to know Kevin while he worked for DEED. He cherished his family, Janelle and loved the adventures you shared. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our hearts go out to you all. Kevin was a wonderful, thoughtful, and kind man. I remember cross country skiing out at the Kelleher farm. Kevin and Janelle always had so many friends and were always so welcoming to everyone. Many laughs were had and my memories still make me smile. Hugs to you, Janelle, and to your family.
I don’t know of anyone that embodied the best characteristics of a person like Kevin possessed. The mold was broken with this one-of-a-kind individual. I recall vividly in the late 80’s when Kevin attend MPCA conventions just to hang around Rosenberger, myself, and the county commissioners in attendance. Kevin had his sights set on becoming a Houston County Commissioner. With Bob Roufs, the 4 of us would play 500 until the wee hours of the morning acting like we were 21 again. Later, Kevin and Janelle let my family hunt turkeys on their farm. They asked us to join them on a sailing junket on the Caribbean and regretfully we did not follow up on that invitation. I never tired of his companionship and he certainly was a person you never got enough of. He impacted so many including myself. My condolences to Janelle and his family. Sincerely, Van & Jo Eve Ellig
My thoughts and prayers go out to Janelle, Cole, and Emma. I did not know Kevin personally but my daughter and Emma grew up together and I worked with Janelle for a brief time at Heritage Court in Houston. I am sure Kevin will be missed by many. There are really no words to make it better so I will just pray that someday the tears will be lessened and the happy memories will fill their place.
I had the privilege to meet Kevin and Janelle in 2003, and shortly afterward began working with Kevin to establish online education programs for Houston Public Schools. Under Kevin's leadership, we formed a group of dedicated, amazing individuals that forged the path through what was at the time, the new and uncharted territory of online public education in Minnesota. This little group of professionals formed a bond that I believe can never be forgotten or diminished. Kevin modeled for all leadership of courage, compassion, honesty, perseverance, and innovation. Kevin was driven by the mission to do our best for our community. He challenged the status quo, created and held accountability for self and others, and had the courage to admit his own mistakes. I could only watch in awe as Kevin stood ever strong year over year at great personal cost to champion against political opposition for justice, honor, and truth for our community. As I grew to know Kevin and his family, I quickly learned that Kevin modeled honor and integrity in every aspect of his life. Ever adoring of his amazing life partner and children, Kevin deeply pondered the concerns and feelings of everyone he knew. What then, can I say to summarize the imprint Kevin has left on me and so many others? Kevin was an immortal spirit who taught us to love deeply, live richly (experience not $), stand for others who cannot stand for themselves, champion truth and justice, and never, never give up until truth and justice prevail. Until we meet again my friend you will remain in my heart.
To Janelle and family. We are thinking of you and your family and feel very grateful we knew Kevin. What a wonderful inspiration his life was to all of us.Sending a donation to the DFL in Kevin's name. We will plan to attend his Celebration of Life.
Chuck and Regina Chihak La Crescent, MN
I spent a few afternoons with Kevin my classmate in the woods behind his house so not surprising that he jumped at the chance for a home in the Old growth forests of South Eastern Minnesota.
Schooled under the demanding Sister Mary Frances at St. Peter’s and later Sgt Miller at Cretin we both came from a different world than kids find out there today. At Cretin High School we St. Peter’s kids were despairingly referred to as living in the” boondocks”of Eagan and Mendota Heights. Yet at our 50 year reunion I subsequently learned that those same classmates raised in the central city Parishes now cherish the south of the river area for their retirement town homes. Back then our parents were” far enough behind to be ahead “as the slogan where I presently live goes. It was a wonderful life during the period I knew Kevin and I’m heartened to hear he went on to become the type of man that Sister Mary Frances would have been proud of Would have enjoyed a reunion with Kevin but it was not to be. Our worlds never met again.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
My sympathy to Jenelle and family!
I served with Kevin in Vietnam. We were both crew chiefs on OH-6As. Kevin was a true warrior and a hero. We served under then Colonel George S. Patton, Jr in Air Cav Troop, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment. After almost 50 years we reconnected again a Vietnam reunions and when Kevin would stop by and see me in Walker,Mn on his way to visit his uncle in Ted Lake. I never met Janelle or anyone else in his family but I learned about them through Kevin’s stories. I already miss him. RIP. Slow SALUTE.
I had the privilege of working with Kevin’s wife, Janelle, for fifteen years. So I got to know this incredible human over the years, a wonderful family man, friend.....a guy I had great respect for. My heart goes out to his family and friends. He’ll be greatly missed. He left us way to soon.❤️
Kevin and I met when we were 14 on our first day at Cretin HS. He sat in front of me in home room. After high school our paths went in different directions. He settled in Houston County and me in Cook County but our paths kept coming back together. We both were involved with creating recycling programs that won national awards. We were also on the Minnesota Project Board of Directors together. We saw each other often at solid waste conferences and AMC meetings.
We always had fun together and lively conversations about solving rural problems.
Kevin will be missed...He touched a lot of lives.
In Honor, Respect and Tribute.
Fellow Armed Forces Veteran, former fellow county commissioner and fellow past president of the Association of Counties. I will always value his wise counsel and candor, but most of all I will always value our enduring friendship. Sincerest condolences extended to family, friends and colleagues. Rest in Peace.
An honest man. A man of integrity. A loving man with an open mind. A man with an incredible sense of adventure and humor. A man who affected everyone who met him even if it was for a short time. We are all better for having known him. Love, Heidi and Costas Syropoulos
Our Storer Valley Family lost our great friend, much more than just a neighbor. 40 years of shared adventures, wood cutting, floods, campfires, raising kids & losing loved ones. So many parties to recall with smiles. The valley ( and the world) will never be the same Kevin. Your laughter & joy for life was an inspiration to all of us.
Kevin I remember you helping me build my log cabin in Mound Prairie, it was a blast. your wisdom and spirit will always be part of us. work on the cabin one day, watch soaps the next and think about what we would work on the next day LOL. Kevin you will be sadly missed.
Kevin you were a very great American and a great nephew. I am bringing down my orange Big Buck sweatshirt for you because over the many years we hunted deer at the farm you did shoot many big bucks love you uncle Joe
Memories of Kevin will always bring on a smile. For his family and friends a quote. "The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hands of God" Ghandi
Memories of times with Kevin will always bring on a smile. For his family and friends a quote.
"The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them their loved ones are safe in the hands of God" Ghandi
I met him briefly 5 times in the last 25 years and he made a great impression on me. He will missed
You have my sympathy Janelle.
Kevin you were such a wonderful nephele Joe and Karen corcoran
My pal and my hero. You are loved by so many Dear Kevin.
Loved working with Kevin at DEED. He had such great wisdom, wonderful perspective and a healthy skepticism. My condolences to his family.
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