Funeral services for Milton R. Kelley, age 79 of Mount Vernon, were at 2 p.m. Monday, March 28, 2011 at the First United Methodist Church. A private burial ceremony was conducted at the Mount Vernon City Cemetery. Rev.Pete Adrian and Rev. Clint Davis officiated the services.
On December 18, 1931, Milton Ray Kelley was born to Frank and Nona Lee Lester Kelley. He grew up in Arlington, Texas, graduated from Arlington High School where he played football and acquired the name “Moose” from his loping gait. He then attended the University of Texas at Arlington. After a stint in the U. S. Marine Corps, he graduated from the University of North Texas in 1959 with a BBA in accounting. Later, he attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham attaining certification in Hospital Administration.
In 1957, he married Pat Wafford. They returned to Mount Vernon in 1963, and he began work as the Franklin County Hospital Administrator, which at that time was located across the street from Sam Harvey Funeral Home. He was instrumental in building the Franklin County Hospital on Hwy. 37. To further the economy of the Franklin County area, he owned a dairy, owned Terry Haven Nursing Home, owned a medical supply company, developed Snug Harbor at Lake Cypress Springs, and owned the water system to the development. He lived in Franklin County from 1963 until 1982, he then moved back to Lake Cypress Springs in Franklin County in 1997.
Pat died in 1977. Milton married Beverly Matlock Florey in 1982. In 1985, they built the Villa Nursing Center, a continuing care facility in Mount Pleasant. Subsequently, they built a retirement center, assisted living facilities, a rehabilitation facility and a core building designed for entertaining, all on one campus.
Milton became one of the key developers of the Residential Care Program in Texas, a concept conceived to test the feasibility of Medicaid’s participation in the state assisted living program. As a result of the cost saving statistics, Medicaid became a part of the assisted living program, offering ambulatory nursing home residents a higher standard of independent living. Milton built facilities in Mount Pleasant, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, and Tyler.
In the 1990’s Milton sold the Villa enterprises and began building assisted living facilities. When questioned about his decision to build a facility in Mount Vernon, he quickly said that Mount Vernon and Franklin County had always been good to him, and he wanted to reciprocate in the only way he knew how. As a result, the Mount Vernon House, behind the Ramsay Law Offices and across from the First United Methodist Church, became a reality in 1995.
Milton was active in the Rotary Club in Mount Vernon for several years, where he served as Vice President and President; he was also a member of the Mount Pleasant Rotary Club. He was a Paul Harris Fellow. Milton and Beverly were active members of the Mount Vernon First United Methodist Church where he was a member of the Finance Committee, the administrative board, Sunday School classes and the landscaping program.
In 1997, Milton and Beverly moved back to the King’s Country Subdivision at Lake Cypress Springs in Franklin County, where she presently resides.
Mr. Kelley died Saturday, March 26 at his residence. He was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Frances Kelley and a brother, Marvin Kelley.
He is survived by his wife, Beverly Kelley of Mount Vernon; four children, Kim Kelley Covey of Texarkana, Kyle and Nancy Kelley of San Antonio, Anna Florey of Denver, and Tull and Julia Florey of Houston; six grandchildren, Mary Faith Covey, Matthew Covey, Heather Kelley, Patrick Kelley, Tully Florey, and Trent Florey; and two great-grandchildren.
Pallbearers were Charles Lowry, Pat Lindley, Harry Earl, Bo Wafford, Dee Wafford, and Tony Macias. Honorary pallbearers were Tom Wright, Roy Thompson, Wanda Marshall, Homer Holt, Don Glosser, Bill Craig, Bill Moye, Tommy Walker, Dr. Bradley Witt, Charles Smith, Dr. Greg Pearl, employees of the Mount Vernon House, B. F. Hicks, Richard Hemmle, Ron Stringer, and Milton’s caregivers.
Donations may be made to Cypress Basin Hospice, First United Methodist Church, or to the Bo and Patty Pilgrim Cancer Center.