Frank Kelsey, 96, Sidney/Poplar
April 12, 2023
Celebration of Life Services will be held Saturday April 15, 2023 at 10:00 A.M. at the First Presbyterian Church in Poplar, MT with Pastor Sam Samuelson officiating. Remembrances, condolences, and pictures may be shared with the family at http://www.fulkersons.com. Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home of Sidney, MT is assisting the family.
Frank Alexander Kelsey was born on June 8th, 1926, in Poplar, Mt to Albert Eugene Kelsey (A.E Kelsey) and Cecilia Young Kelsey. Frank spent his boyhood days in Poplar where he was the sixth of seven children. After graduating high school, he helped his father run one of his several successful businesses in the area, before eventually joining the army.
He was enlisted from 1947 to 1948 where he served as a typist and helped with security as a military police officer. On his return home from serving, he joined his father and brother with their business, Kelsey Transfer. After time, Frank and his brother Warren eventually took over the family business and renamed it Kelsey Ready Mix.
He was a jack of all trades in his time. As well as running his concrete business, he also cut fence posts, was a heavy equipment operator, and eventually became a custodian for the Poplar school system. He worked with the school from 1984 until he was forced into retirement at the ripe age of 80.
Frank eventually went on to meet Viola (Vi), the love of his life, and from their union three children were born; Tana, David, and James, who joined their four older siblings from Vi's previous marriage; Veda, Joseph, Patrick and Ronald.
Frank was definitely one of a kind. He had quite the sweet tooth, which he liked to contribute to his longevity. His favorite snack was peanut butter and honey on crackers, but he didn't discriminate against anything that was considered a treat.
Many people in Poplar can probably recount seeing Frank driving around town with one of his furry friends in the back of his truck bed. He never went far without one of his dogs. He always had a joke handy, whether it was verbal or one of the little clippets he had saved in his wallet for decades. He had several jokes about "WOMAN DRIVERS" ... or, just woman in general. We like to say it was all in fun and not at all chauvinistic, but only Frank and God know the truth in that (Wink). He may have come off as being ornery, but people soon learned his bark was much bigger than his bite - and his heart was even bigger than both.
He was also an avid gardener. He and Vi spent countless hours outside nurturing their beautiful yard and large garden. They had apple trees and choke cherry trees that the kids were tasked with picking. They climbed ladders while carrying their ice cream buckets to pick the fruits to be turned into jams, jellies, and wine.
Their home was always bustling, even after their own children were grown and gone, they were then blessed with grandchildren to keep their house busy. The kids all loved spending time in their beautiful back yard, playing in the large sandbox made by Frank, swinging on the swing set, climbing the apple trees, playing hide and seek in the trove of hiding places, and running through tree rows and bushes while the adults sat at the picnic table under one of the giant shade trees in the middle of the yard, sipping coffee and talking the day away. He also kept a supply of salt water taffy in his shirt pocket and would always give them out to the grandkids as they were passing by.
He was a long-time member of the Presbyterian church and had an extraordinarily strong faith in our Lord. You could always count on him for a life lesson straight from the Bible. He always had his Bible open reading the scripture. He prayed over every meal and never ended the day without giving his thanks for all the blessings the Lord had given him. His favorite daily affirmations were "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.," and "Tide and time wait for no man... and FEW women."
Frank passed away on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at the Eastern Montana Veterans Home in Glendive, MT.
Frank was the last surviving member of his immediate family and is preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Cecilia Kelsey, the love of his life, Viola, brothers Howard and Warren, sisters Cecilia, Elinor, Charlotte, and Jocelyn (Jolly), his son Ronald LaRoche, grandsons Raymond LaRoche, Chad LaRoche, Hunter Dehner, and great grandson, Grady Sunwall.
He is survived by his children Tana (Gary) Lee, Williston, ND, David Kelsey, Sidney, MT, James (Liz) Kelsey, Savage, MT, Veda (Darrell) Azure, Sidney, MT, Joe (Colleen) LaRoche, Poplar, MT, Pat (Wanda) LaRoche, Bozeman MT, daughter-in-law Diane LaRoche, Poplar, MT, wife of his late son, Ronald, and his nieces, nephews, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.