Mr. Sherman Gilbert “Buddy” Kelley, 92, of East Oak Street in Woodbine passed away at Southeast Georgia Health System in St. Marys on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.
Mr. Kelley was born on Oct. 7, 1923, in Linton, Ind. He was the son of the late Clarence K. and Fanny B. Kelley.
At 6 years of age, Mr. Kelley moved to Woodbine from Indiana. As the oldest of his siblings, at a very early age he worked along with his father to support his brothers and sisters. He and his father helped to build the Woodbine waterfront park by moving many tons of earth and debris to build up the waterfront. The townspeople donated wood, windows and doors to help the family build a four-room house as a thank you for all their hard effort.
Later on, he joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and served with the 77th division in the Pacific. He was discharged in 1946 and returned home from war. Once back home, he became one of the first EMTs, was a volunteer firefighter from 1945 to 1958 and eventually served as fire chief from 1959 to 1986.
Mr. Kelley later served as a city councilman for four years in the early 1970s and city public works director from December 1974 to December 1985, as he knew where many of the undocumented infrastructures, such as sewer and gas lines that were originally installed, were located. He worked in a private GMC dealership, Mechanic Motor Company, and then later opened his own shop, Woodbine Garage & Auto Parts. He was a lifelong hard worker and put everything he had into making his business a success.
Along with his auto business, he was a member of the Woodbine Lions Club and the Woodbine Masonic Lodge, where he was a past grand master. Mr. Kelley was an instrumental part of Woodbine and was the community’s go-to man. He loved to fish from the time he and his dad went fishing together in the Satilla River, and he loved to listen to country and bluegrass music from the radio he had hanging in his backyard. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the Woodbine community.
Mr. Kelley is survived by his sons, Sherman Gilbert “Gil” Jr. and Kaye Kelley and Alvin Keith and Pat Kelley all of Woodbine; his grandchildren, Jason Dinkins Kelley (Christina) of Woodbine, Kimberly Gayle Kelley of Jacksonville, Fla., Kevin Gilbert Kelley, of Augusta, Daniel Craig (Nichole) Kelley, Brian Keith (Ashley) Kelley and Julia Lené (Derek) Bauder, all of Kingsland, Wendy Michelle (Shannon) Gibson of Woodbine and Jamie Lavonne (Alison) Crews of Waverly; and numerous great-grandchildren.
Calling hours for the Kelley family will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at the funeral home. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, in Homeward Cemetery in Waverly with Pastor Larry Boyette presiding. Pallbearers will be Daniel Craig Kelley, Brian Keith Kelley, Jason Dinkins Kelley, Kevin Gilbert Kelley, Derek Bauder and Shannon Gibson.
Contributions in Mr. Kelley’s honor can be made to Woodbine First Baptist Church, 300 W. Eighth St., Woodbine, GA 31569.
Coastal Camden Funeral Home in Kingsland is entrusted with Mr. Kelley’s arrangements.