Communication Builds Our Community

Robert "Bob" Burdett Kelly

Robert "Bob" Burdett Kelly died peacefully at home on February 2, 2023.

Born on November 17, 1926 in Fleischmanns, NY to John and Iva Kelly, Bob was the oldest of two sons. Bob proudly served in the US Navy during World War II. After his return to civilian life he married Barbara "Bobbie" Horend. During their 61 year marriage they had two children, settling in East Aurora, NY.

Bob is survived by his wife, Mertice Watkins Kelly: son John Kelly, daughter Jane Kelly Ebberts; grandson Kevin Kelly; granddaughters Jaime Royster and Marcy Pitman; great grandchildren Dylan Royster, Sutton Royster and Glynna Pitman.

Bob was dedicated to his faith and public service, always available to serve the needs of the church, while also serving as a member of the East Aurora Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. He was elected to the Village of East Aurora Board of Trustees, then as Mayor of the Village of East Aurora.

Bob had a long career with New York Telephone starting as a lineman working up to fiber optics engineer before retiring to Lake Wales, FL. Bob's entrepreneurial spirit lead him to establish Equalizer Security Company, growing that company to serve many residents and businesses in the Lake Wales area. Upon the sale of Equalizer, Bob continued that drive to succeed in commercial real estate sales and leasing.

After Bobbie's passing in 2008, Bob met and fell in love with Mertice "Mert" Watkins, the couple was married in 2009. During their marriage of 14 years, they remained committed to faith and public service as active members of The First Baptist Church of Lake Wales as well as focusing on a joint passion to serve those in need through the Circle of Friends Ministry, a non-profit founded by Mert in 1999 and dedicated to assisting those with developmental disabilities.

A celebration of his life will be held at The First Baptist Church of Lake Wales, February 18th at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials to Circle of Friends Ministry, 105 E. Stuart Ave., Lake Wales, FL 33853 or Good Shepherd Hospice, 1110 Hammock Road, Sebring, FL 33870.


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