John Dale Kelly and Clara Jayne West were married in Hereford, Texas on July 26, 1953, on a Sunday afternoon at the Church of Christ. The bride wore a dress made by her mother. After the wedding, Daddy pulled Mother in a cart down Main Street in front of the movie theater where Trouble Along the Way was playing! A sign of things to come? After 60 years of marriage, there may have been a bump or two in the road, but they quickly faded into the past, replaced by so many good memories. Daddy always knew he wanted to farm and ranch and Mother’s chosen career – homemaker! They have both excelled in their professions!
They moved to Panhandle in 1953, eventually buying a corner lot from Dee Cummings to build their first home where they would raise their family. While there, Daddy was busy with the farming and cattle and Mother was a member of a ladies club. It wasn’t long until a new 4-H club was started west of Panhandle. There were lots of sewing/cooking lessons and raising calves for the stock shows. Those were good times!
While active members of the community, Daddy and Mother’s lives have always revolved around their strong belief in God and a desire to honor and obey Him. While serving in the local Church as an elder, Daddy also served on the boards of Lubbock Christian University, PCA, and 55+. More recently, they have actively served on the Panhandle Chamber of Commerce. People have always mattered to them, they have loved sharing their home with family and friends, and are always ready for a game of forty-two or eager for a good visit!
They have two daughters - Jackie, married to Ben Mereness, who currently live in Amarillo, Texas, working for Eastern European Missions - and Johnette Kelly, who pursued a public accounting career in Fort Worth. The Kellys are quite proud of their three grandsons – Kevin Mereness, an architect in Dallas, Kent Mereness and his wife Brynn working at the Bible Chair at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas, and Kory Mereness and his wife Mandy of Roseburg, Ore., where Kory serves as youth minister. There is also one very special great-granddaughter, Lucy Jayne Mereness - who is awaiting the arrival of a brother and a sister in late November! We are all very excited about this news of twins!
We love being together as a family and so the decision was made to celebrate this special anniversary with a four-day family trip to Angel Fire, N.M. While options for riding the zip line, golf, good food, games of forty-two were available, the primary purpose was spending a time of celebration with each other. After 60 years, there are a lot of stories to tell and memories to share – passing along a rich heritage to the next generation.
Many of you have been so kind to send cards and notes of congratulations and we are extremely thankful for your expressions of love and good wishes to our parents. We deeply appreciate and value the many years our family has been blessed to call Panhandle “home”. Panhandle has indeed proven to be a wonderful place for the Kellys to raise a family and we are abundantly blessed to be a part of such a caring, close-knit community!