Reverend Omer Kelley, of Antigo, died Friday August 13, 2021, at Rosalia Gardens under the care of LeRoyer Hospice. He was 99 years old. He was born on July 13, 1922, in Madison, a son of Earl and Mae (Trost) Kelley.
At the time of his birth he was named Earl C. Kelley, Jr. He took the name Omer C. Kelly after becoming a member of the Franciscan Capuchin Order. Fr. Kelley attended St. Bernard Grade School, Madison, St. Lawrence High School Seminary, Mt. Calvary, where he became a member of the Capuchin Order in 1940.
He studied philosophy at Mary Immaculate House of Philosophy in Glencliff, New York, and theology at St. Anthony Friary in Marathon City. He was ordained June 3, 1949 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Marathon City by The Most Reverend John Treacy, Bishop, Diocese of LaCrosse. Following his ordination he studied theology at The Gregorian University in Rome, Italy where he earned a Licentiate in Theology in 1951.
Father Kelly's first assignment was as an assistant at Queen of Angels Parish in Harlem, NY, he then moved back to Wisconsin where he was appointed assistant at St. Elizabeth Parish in Milwaukee. Father Kelley held various appointments including professor of theology and liturgy at St. Anthony Seminary in Marathon, serving as a member of the Mission Band of the Capuchin Order, pastor at a parish in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, serving the American workers in the oil fields.
In 1977 he returned to Wisconsin to serve as Administrator at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Neva and Chaplain at Langlade Memorial Hospital in Antigo, a position he fulfilled until 2017.
In 1980 he incardinated into the Diocese of Green Bay and became Pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish until he retired in 1995. He then moved to White Lake for 11 years and served as priest moderator for the SS James & St. Stainislaus Parish of White Lake and Langlade.
Fr. Kelley also served as Field Advocated for the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal and served a three year term on the Diocesan Presbyteral Council.
He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant sister, Joan Kelley; and a brother, John (Ann) Kelley.
A service of reception will be held on Wednesday at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church at 3 p.m. which will begin the visitation. The visitation will conclude with a parish wake service at 6 p.m.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, August 19, 2021, at 10 a.m. at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church with the Most Reverend David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay, Celebrant.
Visitation on Thursday will be from 9 to 10 a.m. at the church.
Burial will take place in the parish cemetery.
A memorial in Fr. Kelley's memory has been established to St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church N5340 Church Road, Deerbrook, WI 54424 and the Catholic Foundation World Missions at P.O. Box 22128, Green Bay, WI 54305-2128.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Rev. Omer Kelley, please visit our Tribute Store
Deerbrook, Wisconsin 54424
Deerbrook, Wisconsin 54424
Deerbrook, Wisconsin 54424
Father Kelly officiated at my wedding in 1985. Such a jolly man. I am sure he touched so many lives in his years on this earth, and for generations to come.
May he rest in well deserved peace, in heaven above.
As a Capuchin, I had Fr. Omer as a teacher in our theology seminary a Marthon, Wi. He was always one of our favorites, because he was so humble and so competent. As a student, I admired the way he would so often be out preaching in various churches, especially in the three-day services we called the "Forty Hors Devotion", centering on the Eucharist. As years went on, I lost track of Omer as I moved to minister in California, but always considered him a brother and friend. We made contact again when I read an article about his ministry in the Antigo region, and we did some correspondence. May he remember all of us here, grateful for his ministries to us, and eager to join him again! Fr. Anthony Scannell,Capuchin
Fr Kelley said in a sermon I will always remember… God loves you so so much dear people. Not because you love Him but because He loves you.
I have had to opportunity to work with many individuals who chose to walk the same path as Fr. Kelley. Not all were Catholic, had the title of Father or designation as priest. In their own ways, they were all intelligent, thoughtful, and caring people; however, Father Kelley was a level above them all. He will never know the impact he had on me by simply being who he was. I saw a man who didn't care if you were Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist. If you were young or old. If you male or female. He didn't care what color your skin was. He didn't care if you didn't attended church every Sunday. He didn't care if you were married or divorced. He cared about you, the person. He accepted people for who they were at that point in their life with no judgement and then did what he could to help them become better people, keep them from wondering down the wrong path or guide them back when they were lost. He was not afraid to be honest with you, about who he was or his feelings. I remember many times during conversations or while teaching religious education classes or even during sermons when he would say he didn't know the answer or express his own doubts or state his outright disagreement with an official teaching or policy. He did all this to help people and make the world a better place. He will be missed.
Such a loss. He was such a warm and friendly man. Always had a smile and a wave for everyone he saw while out walking his dog. When my Dad worked at the VFW he would walk down there with his dog and share a cold drink with Dad. Dad loved him and preformed his funeral in 2004. Kathy
Father Kelly was such a thoughtful, kind person. I will hold his memory in my heart forever.
Sweet father Kelley, married us 38 years ago and baptized all 4 of my children. What a great man! Church was never the same. May God take you in his arms and wrap you tightly in his Grace. We will miss you sir! Rest in peace! ❤
I am the luckiest person to have known Omer my entire life. He had much to do with the man I am today. Nothing can ever repay the gift of his friendship, sense of humor, spiritual guidance, and his way of seeing right into the soul of your being. I feel comfort in believing that his reception in Heaven must be tremendous, greeting all of those who he helped on this side. The sign says, "Welcome Home, Omer!" You've made it, dear friend. Until we meet again, Boss.
So sorry for the loss of such a good soul. Great guy will be missed.
Such a humble, faith-filled, gentle man. May he rest in eternal peace. God's blessings.