Russell W. Kelly

July 13, 1932June 15, 2013

Russell W. Kelly East Lansing, Michigan

Born July 13, 1932, died June 15, 2013 at home surrounded by his family.

One of his greatest sources of pride was that he served as a Marine in the United States Marine Corp. Russ played football there and was later recruited by Michigan State University where he played football for four years and was proud that he played on the teams that won the Rose Bowl in 1955 and the National Championship team in 1957. After graduation from MSU and because he was a man of vision, strength, and courage he decided he wanted to run his own business. Russ took $1000 and opened Spartan Motors in East Lansing where he specialized in unique and exotic sports cars. He then purchased Kelly Buick in Mason in 1970 and expanded his business over the years. At the height of his career he owned dealerships in Michigan and Florida with franchises that included: Buick, GMC Truck, American Motors, Renault, Chrysler, Jeep, Subaru and Suzuki. His small used car lot had grown into Kelly Automotive Group – a multi-dealership company.

When he died - his eyes were closed but his heart was wide open because he realized that more important than success in business was the love he had for his family.

Russ left behind his wife of 39 years, Beverly; sons: Nick Kelly (Rami); Terry Kelly (Mary); Gary Kelly (Melanie); Steve Kelly; and daughters: Stacy George (Kevin); and Kris Conrad (Bryan). Predeceased are Kurt Kelly, Ted Kelly, and Marilyn Kelly. Also left were 15 Grandchildren and many special friends.

A Memorial Service will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 955 Alton Rd, East Lansing on Friday, June 21, at 11:00 a.m. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.

For those desiring, in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to McLaren Visiting Nurse & Hospice, 2316 S. Cedar, Ste 200, Lansing, MI 48910.

The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Lansing. Online condolences may be made at:



  • Visitation Friday, June 21, 2013


  • Memorial Mass

Russell W. Kelly

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July 9, 2013

To the Kelly Family, Russ was a great freind and an outstanding source of advice. Even when sometimes I wasn't looking for advise.
He will be truely missed.
Wayne Elhart, Holland, Mi


June 23, 2013

Bev, Gary,Steve and Family so sorry for your loss.

Rick Bosurgi

June 22, 2013

Terry & Family, so sorry for your loss you are all in our thoughts and prayers. Russ was a great guy and I thought a lot of him. Rick & Ann

Rich Feight

June 21, 2013

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” thinking of you Steve and Bev.

Dana & Ann Parker

June 21, 2013

Gary, we are so sorry at the loss of your Dad. You're in our thoughts & prayers and if you let him, God will help you through this hard time. God loves you and is there for you. We are praying for you to feel comforted & loved by God. We love you.

Deb Wilson

June 20, 2013

May God comfort you and your family during this time. Russ was a special guy and will be greatly missed. I always enjoyed seeing both of you and your family over the years. My prayers are with you all.
Debi Wilson
MSU Clinical Center

Jean Kelly

June 20, 2013

Thinking of you Bev and the times that I went out on Lake Michigan on the boat with you and Uncle Russ. Know how he loved "the Big Lake" and how I enjoyed that time with both of you. Am attaching this picture that I took at Sunset at the end of the pier in Grand Haven this past Saturday, June 15, 2013 with a single boat coming into port.

Lori Hartley

June 19, 2013

I am so sorry for your loss. Bev you and the family are in my thoughts and prayers. Russ you are in the most beautiful place and are pain free. Fly high and soar and enjoy your eternal life. God bless you!

Peter Bertsch

June 19, 2013

Brandie and I couldn't have asked for better neighbors. Russ treated our children like his own grandchildren. I will so miss our front porch talks on life and business. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kelly family.

Peter and Brandie Bertsch

Hiroshi Tanimoto

June 18, 2013

Russ was a very good friend of mine since 1981. He was an old fashioned good man. I feel I met with him first time just yesterday. He was always with my family and me whenever we needed him. I lost an irreplaceable friend.

I visited him about 3 weeks ago, and didn't think his time would come this soon. I regret I didn't make another visit. However, I am glad that he departed to his next chapter in style. I can't imagine he was bed-ridden with tubes. I believe it was his way and his will. I respect it very much.

There are so many good memories with him. And, I miss him and will miss him a lot.
Now I know he will be waiting for me when my turn comes. He is that kind of guy. I will see you Russ!