Kelly Richard VanAlstine
February 5, 1968 – May 30, 2021
Kelly Richard VanAlstine, 2/05/1968 - 5/30/2021 age 53 of Ann Arbor Michigan left this earth peacefully on May 30, 2021 after a valiant 3 year battle with melanoma.
Kelly was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 5, 1968. His parents moved to Ann Arbor in 1973. He graduated from Lakewood Special Ed Program in 1993. He worked at the Ann Arbor News downtown building under Bill Dorrow and at the new factory from 1990 to 2010. He loved his job with the news which ended when they stopped the daily newspaper. He attended Liberty Club, in Saline, a day program for adults with disabilities from 2011 to the present. There he participated in many activities such as, volunteering with Meals on Wheels, reading to preschoolers and helping in the Saline District Library. He enjoyed the many field trips and especially “the word of the week”. During COVID he participated on Zoom. He also worked part-time at Dominos on Jackson Rd.
Over his lifetime Kelly accomplished many goals that required hard work and determination, such as skateboarding, water skiing on Pleasant Lake, learning to drive, and owning his own car. He was a good bowler and made lots of strikes and “turkeys” and beat us often. Kelly loved music! He collected and played guitars, wrote songs, and sang karaoke. His music therapist Lynn Chenoweth was wonderful.
Kelly is survived by his mother and father Cheryl Singler and Jeff VanAlstine, stepmother Gloria VanAlstine, grandmother Beverly VanAlstine, brother Hans, half-sister Stephanie (partner Brenden), step-brothers Brett and Matt Bauder (wife Kate and baby Gina), maternal aunt Phyllis, paternal aunts Holly and Linda and uncle Greg, great aunt Nancy, and many cousins.
Kelly loved the dogs that were part of his life, Daisy, Cooder, Buster, Romeo, Disney, Monkey and his chatty cockatiel. He was loved and cherished by us all and he loved us back in droves.
We want to sincerely thank the many people who loved and supported Kelly. Dr. Harvey Falit was Kelly’s psychiatrist for 40 years since Kelly was 13 years old. His consistent guidance and sessions with him over all these years have allowed Kelly to navigate his journey in this world. We would like to recognize his many special education teachers, especially his drivers' education teacher Fred Karr who told Kelly, “You’re a driver!” After 2 years of lessons, he passed his driver’s test and got his first car. As an adult, Liberty Club in Saline is where Kelly was able to grow in knowledge, skills, and confidence. Thanks to all the staff and his friends at Liberty Club especially founder and director Jacque Macy. Cheryl Petty, his CMH caseworker was greatly appreciated for her assistance and personal touch. He was enriched by all of his “bosses” over the years who helped him be a productive and happy employee.
Since his battle with melanoma began in 2018 numerous health care workers have shown compassion, humor, and expert care. Kelly’s oncologist Dr. Christoper Lao at Michigan Medicine Cancer Center became his trusted friend. He received loving, personalized care for the past 15 months at A and R Premiere Care by Randeep and Dean Reddick. In his final days, the staff at Arbor Hospice provided the gentle and respectful, loving care that he needed and also provided support to our family.
We will remember Kelly for his polite and kind nature, his infectious smile, his quick wit and cool sense of humor. He showed us how to “live in the moment” and look forward to the future.
Donations in Kelly’s honor may be made to Liberty Club, 7265 North Ann Arbor St. Saline MI 48176. You may also donate online at: https://saline.revtrak.net/special-education/#/v/-liberty-club-kelly-vanalstine-donation
A small group of family and close friends will gather to spread his ashes. Arrangements by Muehlig Funeral Chapel. Condolences may be sent to the Family of Kelly VanAlstine, 1471 Jewett St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
- Liberty Club
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Kelly Richard VanAlstine
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Anne Moler Moler
June 11, 2021
Hi my name is Anne Moler. I’m so sorry to hear that Kelly passed away. My condolences go out to Kelly’s family, friends and everyone who was so lucky to know Kelly and have him in their life. I was so lucky to have known Kelly from Liberty Club when I was in it and also from when he was in U of M Best Buddies. One memory I have is when Kelly was in U of M Best Buddies he enjoyed coming to events, hanging out with his Peer Buddy Sarah and his friends. I also remember we would talk and hang out some at Best Buddies. I will miss Kelly.
June 6, 2021
This past Sunday, May 30th, my family (in particular Gloria VanAlstine) and I lost a truly special person. My big brother, Kelly VanAlstine, passed away after his fight with melanoma.
His life certainly wasn’t an easy one. My dad told me recently when he was just a toddler the doctors told my dad “your son is retarded”. With no advice on how to care for him or how he could move forward in this world. He was bullied. At top of the park one summer (a summer festival here in Ann Arbor) I heard a kid call him a retard and turned around and swung my 12 year old fist at his face (I missed and clipped his shoulder instead, but he got the point). But somehow, Kelly was still full of joy. The things in life he loved, he loved FIERCELY. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Scooby Doo, Christmas, scary movies, the Red Wings...it’s a long list. But his family was really at the top of that list.
Kelly took his role as my big brother seriously. He called me almost every day to check in to see how I was doing, say hi to Disney and Monkey, make sure Brenden was having a good day at work. He wanted to know how many lessons I was teaching, how I was feeling, and what I was going to have for dinner.
He taught me how to live in the exact present moment, because that was where he always was. Right here, right now. He could always pull me out of my frantic thinking by reminding me that life was what was happening right in front of me. The breakfast I ate. If my pups were happy. If I was gonna get Taco Bell soon (one of our many shared passions).
I can only hope the photos and memories I have are enough to give me the peace and love he always gave me. These past few months when I was sitting in the hospital with him, completely out of the blue he would be say “I love you Stephie” (He was the only one allowed to call me that). And I would get right in front of his face, make eye contact and say “I love you too Kelly”. I’ll repeat that memory in my head until it’s etched in stone.
June 5, 2021
My name is Keith went to school with Kelly
He was like a big brother to me taught me everything about music skating boarding and life after we graduated we kept in touch I just talked to him last month and we laughed about old times I will truly miss him
June 5, 2021
I met Kelly at Saline Liberty club where we became good friends.
I am going to miss talking to him, his sense of humor, and laughter
I was happy I got to go visit him at the Evangelical home when he was there.
We will miss him at Saline Liberty club .
June 5, 2021
One of Kelly's favorite stories about Liberty Club was when the driver for Meals on Wheels left the step stool for the van behind and it became a joke that never ended. The other one was when he redeemed his Liberty Bucks for a surprise item and it was a purse! He kept trying to give it to someone else. Thanks everyone at Liberty Club for enriching Kelly's life! Gloria / Mom 2
June 4, 2021
There are many things that happen in your life that are totally unexpected and become very important. When I started working @ Liberty Club I met Kelly and
realized that I had made a friend for life and no matter what I faced Kelly was always my friend. Simple things would make you happy and knowing when I would see his smiling face in the morning would make my day easier. The world is a better place because of Kelly I will miss him!
June 4, 2021
Kelly was a wonderful person whose kindness and demeanor were special. I always remember him with his Red Wing jersey that he loved to wear. Kelly will be truly missed by his friends and family at Liberty Club.
June 1, 2021
Haiku for Kelly
He whispered goodbye,
leaving us to remember
his voice, his shy smile.