David Rodney Kelly was born November 13, 1949, in Palmetto, FL, to the late Ernestine Nabbie and the late Robert "Bubba" Smith; AND Willie Nelson and Ruby Bass Kelly Nelson "Mama", who adopted him, and both also preceded him in death. David, also known as 'Rod' is a very, very proud graduate of Lincoln Memorial High School class of 1967 and all of his childhood years. He cherished and kept his yearbook in a ziplock bag and did not allow anyone to turn the pages but him! David is also a two-year graduate of Manatee Junior College, earning an A.A. Degree in Business. David worked in welding and manually building large trailers for trucks and tractor trailers in Miller Trailers/Oshkosh Truck Corporations, he also was a receiving manager and a skilled forklift driver for Lowe's, Johnson & Smith Co., and Glenroe Technologies Inc./Dentsply, Inc. He retired from those industries in 2013. David was converted at an early age and always a lifelong member attending Providence Missionary Baptist Church since infantry. He accepted Christ and was baptized by the late, great Reverend E. W. Carey. David later gained the prestige honor of being ordained as a deacon by Reverend Dr. G. I. Bradley, of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Palmetto, FL, in 1979, where he served faithfully until his sickness when he battled Parkinson's, Glaucoma and Diabetes.
In 1979, he met the absolute love of his life, Vonnie Rovena Rentz, and on May 27, 2017, they united in holy matrimony. David was soft-spoken, quiet, witty, smart, somewhat stubborn, being set in his ways, competitive, full of humor, charismatic, articulate, and knowledgeable (always full of jokes and stories, taking you back in time). He was known as 'ball playing Kelly' having a soft touch with that basketball, knowing how to jump, shoot free throws, 3 pointer shots, and being quick on his feet for finding that sweet spot, and taking it to the hoop. He also enjoyed football. But nothing came before Church, studying the bible, and being God's servant.
David departed this life on May 2, 2023. He was preceded in death by his UNCLES: Loya Kelly, Reverend Theodus Kelly, Nathaniel Kelly, Alexander DeLeon Kelly Jr, Bishop Rosby Kelly, Elder Isaiah Kelly, Sr., David Bass, Cleveland Bass, and Deacon I.C. Jones, AUNTS: Annie Rosa Kelly, Ruby Leetta Kelly Jenkins, Elouise Kelly, Irma Kelly, Shirley Mae Kelly Johnson Jones (also sister), Patricia Bass, and Vivian Bass; BROTHERS: Sheldon H. Kelly, Robert Smith, Jr., and Nathaniel C. Smith, SISTER: Vanessa Kelly Wortham; Father and Mother-in-law: Harry H. Rentz, Jr. and Annie Mae Rentz.
David leaves to cherish and mourn the precious memories of his passing: his loving and devoted wife: Vonnie Rovena Rentz-Kelly; his son: Devin Ryan Kelly (Ashlee); His brothers: Arnold J. Kelly (Gloria), Barney E. Smith (Patricia), Keith L.Smith (Arlene), Ezra Surcy, Rudolph 'Rudy' Nabbie (Beverly), and Micah 'Mike' Nabbie (Mary); His sisters: Carol Nabbie Burgess (David), and Lisa Leath Ferguson. Brother and Sisters-in-law: Frederick C. Rentz (Tracey), Evangeline Rentz, Tabitha Rentz, and Regina Mann (LeRoy). Father-in-law: Nelson Williams & family in Newark, NJ; Two Grandchildren: Dylan Ryan Kelly; Arya McKenzie Kelly; and a host and an array of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends
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