Russell Austin Kelley
August 17, 1950 – September 3, 2021
Friends and family lost a beloved member of the Columbia community Friday, September 3, 2021. Russell Austin Kelley died quietly at White Oak nursing facility in Columbia. He is survived by his wife Laura Hunter Kelley, his sister Dabney Johnson, his brother Joe Kelley, and niece and nephew Molly Johnson and Joe Kelley III. Rusty was born in Richmond Virginia on August 17, 1950 to Augusta McCoy Kelley and Bernard Joseph Kelley. His family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1954, where he graduated from Myers Park High. He was a member of Christ Episcopal Church, where he was an acolyte and active in EYC.
Rusty attended Wofford College, where he graduated with a degree in English; he was a member of ROTC, and the SAE Fraternity.
He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and trained in Air Defense artillery in Fort Bliss Texas, later returning to Columbia and Fort Jackson as a training officer.
After his military service, Rusty’s lifelong financial career began as an NBSC bank officer in Columbia, later moving to Wachovia Brokerage Company and finally to BB&T/Scott and Stringfellow as a Financial Planner and Bondbroker, until retirement in 2013.
Rusty enjoyed recreational boating, was a proficient captain, a skilled fly fisherman, and an occasional golfer. Among his and Laura‘s friends were Carolina football fans, the loyal “Mousetrap“ brotherhood, and his former SAE brothers at Wofford.
Rusty was a cornerstone member of his large extended family, who have gathered every Fourth of July for over 50 years on the Jackson river in Virginia for family fun, fishing, and feasting. We will all greatly miss his subtle sense of humor, the love he gave to each of us, and the special care he gave to his mother and father in their later years. Rusty was a friend to many, loved and respected by all.
Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family. Memories may be shared at www.dunbarfunerals.com
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Russell Austin Kelley
September 18, 2021
My thoughts and prayers are with Laura and family. I have known Rusty for many years and have always found him to be a kind and caring person. I have fond memories of Rusty and know he will be missed by many. RIP dear friend.
September 15, 2021
This makes me so sad. Rusty was my first husband Frank’s lifelong friend and I have so many fun memories of him. He took our wedding pictures in 1974 and he and Laura were with me after Frank died.
Just this past week I told a funny story from when Frank and Rusty shared an apartment in Columbia in 1973. Rest In Peace, Rusty.