Bruce Kelly


[This is the supervisor’s favorite photo of Bruce and Annie.  As captioned by Mikko:  Annie & Bruce at the Rose Cottage, Duke of Ormond Estate, Ballypatrick, County Tipperary, Ireland.]

Bruce Kelly died on May 12.  He was only 62.  He had just been to Abbott Hospital last Thursday for a physical prior to bypass surgery scheduled for May 16.

Bruce was not only a terrific musician, but he was a real renaissance man who could converse, with great humor, on a variety of subjects.  Skilly & Duff was the first music group for whom we became groupies when we retired back here 13 years ago.  We will remember Bruce (Skilly) as someone akin to his longtime friend and music partner, Mikko Cowdery (Duff), who always had an impish glint in his eye and who could bring a smile to your face as he approached from a block away.  He will truly be missed.

If you have followed this blog, you know there have been dozens of posts of Bruce, and the various music groups he performed with, over the years.  I have gone back through the archives to remember him again with a variety of photos and videos (scattered randomly herein).  It is quite lengthy – but then Bruce deserves it.

Friend and longstanding musical partner Bruce Kelly died today of a heart attack. He had been grocery shopping this morning and died in his vehicle in the parking lot after eating a Klondike ice cream bar.   [We understand the Klondike bar may have been a little poetic license from Mikko].  How like Bruce to spend his final moment in celebration of life! Condolences to his widow, Annie O’Flynn Kelly, 26873 Grand View Rd. – #2, Elbow Lake, MN56531.  ~  Mikko

His obituary from the Anderson Funeral Home website:

brucekellyKelly, Bruce

Bruce James Kelly was born October 8, 1951 in Clear Lake, South Dakota. His parents were John and Ann Kelly. He grew up on a farm near Revillo, South Dakota (he would tell you ‘Oliver spelled backwards-kinda’). Bruce passed away on Monday, May 12, 2014 in Elbow Lake, MN. He graduated from Revillo High School in 1969 and went on to college at Aberdeen, SD. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris with a degree in teaching – math and physics. He taught in the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg school district, and worked at Lorenz Manufacturing in Benson. In 1981, Bruce married Sue Weinauer. To this union three children were born: Rebecca Dori in 1982, Peter John in 1985, and Emmalynn Anna in 1989. Bruce and Sue were married from 1981 to 2002. During this time Bruce made cabinets and also worked at Alexandria Lumber, and eventually became one of the owners of Miltona Lumber. Bruce met Anne O’Flynn in 2006 and they were married on June 13, 2009. Together they played music with many area bands. Bruce would say, “Bruce on bass, Annie on accordion.” Bruce worked for Beyer’s Tire and Repair in Elbow Lake, and later for Rainbow Rider. Annie convinced Bruce to move to Elbow Lake with her by buying a home on Tipsinah Mounds Golf Course – and a new recliner. Bruce often told people that when he moved to Elbow Lake he ‘hit the jackpot!’ He loved the friends he made in the Lions Club and the only Saturdays he got up early were the ones that started with the Breakfast Club guys – and boy did he look forward to that! He thought the community was just amazing. Bruce was a man of many talents. If you needed something fixed or built, he was the guy to call. If you wanted a heart-to-heart talk, you just picked up the phone and dialed his number. Bruce loved all his grandchildren – the time spent with them meant the world to him. His version of ‘Bingo’ and teasing the kids about their ‘stinky feet’ will be long remembered. His own children fondly recall the ‘Jock and Toby’ stories he made up to tell them at bedtime. He also loved the people who rode on his Rainbow Rider bus. He was touched by their lives, and was considering writing a book about his experiences. One story is done. It’s called ‘Homer.’ Most people will remember Bruce doing what he loved most, playing music. The list of bands he was a part of is a long one. Starting at a young age, he and his brother Norman learned to play guitar, and had their first gig in Tunerville, SD. Bruce was 14. What followed was nearly 50 years of playing, singing, and having fun doing what he loved. Every day he’d come up with another song for one of the bands he was currently playing with. “This is great,” he’d say, “just listen to that bass line…” Bruce’s humor and love will be missed by everyone who knew him. He is survived by his wife, Anne O’Flynn; brother, Norman Kelly (Carol); ex-wife, Sue Weinauer; children: Rebecca Kelly (and friend Erin), Minneapolis; Peter Kelly (and friend Lindsey), Morris; and Emmy Kelly (and friend Kelvin), San Diego. Also survived by his ‘bonus’ children Heather Goldberg (Jeremy) of Lakeville, and Joel Erickson (Melany) of Morris. His ‘bonus’ grandchildren: Nathaniel Coffey, Riley Goldberg, Owen McCannon, Kellen McCannon, Layla Erickson, and Sawyer Erickson; and, the granddaughter he loved so much, Willow Grace Kelly of Morris. And, the best ‘company of friends’ in the world. Services were held on Friday, May 16. Friends gathered to share memories, music, and their love for Bruce.


[We’ll begin with some professional photos by Mark Weise of Bruce and Annie with Cassie & the Bobs.]

A very sad day today. We lost our dear friend Bruce Kelly. Bruce and his wife, Annie played with Erik and me in the Salty Dogs. He was a great musician and a great guy. Our hearts go out to Annie and family.  ~  Tom Mulder

Bruce, from the moment I met you, I was certain that you were a guy who had all the answers…now it’s really true. You know all the answers to all the questions, just like I always thought. Feel free to haunt me anytime! ~ Michelle Wencl

Our hearts are breaking.  Our love to Annie O’Flynn.  They did not have nearly enough time together.  Like Tudy said to Mikko when he was sick, “Don’t leave me…I haven’t loved you long enough”…….Oh dear.  There just aren’t words.  Godspeed, wonderful, wonderful man. So willing to give of his time and exceptional talent.  He will be missed.  ~  Patty Wicken

We’re heartsick over this news.  Tucker’d Out salutes a dear friend who loved music and friendship as much as anyone we know.  This is gonna take a while….Annie, we’re thinking of you with very heavy hearts.  ~  John, Lynn & Ryan





[Cassie & the Bobs]

Here are three songs I’ll always associate with Bruce:

When Annie Took Me Home

Galway Girl:

Under the Scotman’s Kilt

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[This was earliest of my photos,  May 26, 2007.  Bruce and Mikko at the Awake the Lakes (or Ole Oppe Fest?) Festival at Big Ole park with Lake Agnes in the background.  I seem to recall it was quite chilly.]

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[Our Grandson Tom (now a junior at Purdue, where does the time go?) joined the group at Carlos Creek Winery, July 13, 2008.]

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[This was one of the more memorable afternoons of my life, July 12, 2009.  My old golfing buddy from Washington, D.C., days, Bob Gilbert, who retired years before to the great American Southwest, paid his first visit ever to Vacationland USA.  I took Bob out to show him the winery.  I can’t remember who was scheduled to perform that day, but we had previously worn the supervisor to a nub so she decided to stay home and rest.  When we arrived, I noticed it wasn’t the scheduled performer.  I believe it was Al Lieffort and Erik Schultz, at first.  Then I believe Tom Mulder arrived.  And then Bruce and Annie, though I can’t be sure of the correct order of arrival.  Anyway, they were really clicking on all cylinders that day.  Bob kept looking around and saying, “I can’t believe nobody else is here to hear this?”  Well, no one knew.  It was seriously one of the best music performances I have ever attended, and it was really fun sharing it with an old friend!  🙂  ]

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[The Salty Dogs, Bug-A-Boo Bay, Lake Le Homme Dieu, Alexandria, July 12, 2009.  Tom Mulder and Al Lieffort on the left, Erik Schultz on the right.]

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[Douglas County Fair, August 23, 2009.]

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[Nary a peek under Mikko’s kilt!]

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[Break time with Terry Kennedy, a frequent playing partner.]

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[And back to work.]

Mikko’s Family Tree:

Seven Old Ladies:

Big Strong Man:

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[Russ Rolandson captures the moment at the winery, December 5, 2009.]

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[The winery that same day.]

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[Sami Steidl joined the group at the AAAA Theatre, Alexandria, May 22, 2010.]

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[The winery, singing through the grape vines, June 5, 2010.]

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[Alexandria’s City Park for Art in the Park, July 25, 2010.]

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[The winery, September 4, 2010, my 63rd birthday.]

Come Out You Black & Tan:

Jam session:

A poem:

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[The winery, May 29, 2011.]

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[An overzealous fan, July 29, 2011.]

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[The winery, August 19, 2011.]

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[The winery, August 27, 2011.  I believe this young couple did something special at the moment – like announced their engagement?]

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9-4-11-16 - Copy[The winery, September 4, 2011, my 64th birthday, with video following.  🙂  ]

When I’m Sixty-Four:

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[The Pines, with Patty Kakac, Alexandria, November 13, 2011.]

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[I’ve naturally forgotten the event?]

With Sami:

Under the Scotman’s Kilt:

Why Paddy’s Not at Work Today:

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[The winery, January 14, 2012.]

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[The winery, February 11, 2012.]

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[The winery, April 14, 2012.]

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[But this is what happens when you let groupies rush the stage!]

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[No harm, no foul!]

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[Jeanne Johnson’s garage, May 19, 2012.]

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[Jeanne had hoped for an outside event, but it was raining.]

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[Annie’s accordion, the winery, June 9, 2012.]

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[The winery, June 22, 2012.]

Jug Band Music:


Rocky Road to Dublin:

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[The winery, June 23, 2012.]

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[Red Willow Arts Coalition, introduced by Sandy Susag, Alexandria Courthouse lawn, July 26, 2012.]

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[Cassie & the Bobs, Douglas County Fair, August 17, 2012.]

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[Sami said Bruce would occasionally approach her on stage to whisper in her ear.]

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[She thinking he was going to tell her the key for the next song.]

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[But it was more likely to be something like, “Did you hear about the dyslexic atheist who didn’t believe in ‘Dog’?”]

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[A beautiful night at the fair from the stands for Cassie & the Bobs.]

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[The winery, December 1, 2012.]

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[The winery, February 9, 2013.]

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[The winery, April 13, 2013.]

No No Song:

If I Had a Million Dollars:

Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian:

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[The supervisor occasionally is called upon to act as a visual interpreter for the assembled masses.  Here she was invited “on stage” to lead audience participation in The Black Velvet Band, May 11, 2013.]

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Her eyes they shone like diamonds,

I thought her the queen of the land,

And her hair it hung over her shoulder,

Tied up with a black velvet band.

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[Bug-A-Boo Bay, June 29, 2013.]

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[The winery, July 7, 2013.]

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[CD cover photo?]

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[The requisite shot with the pick-up truck.]

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[Grape Stomp at the winery, September 14, 2013.]

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[Later, that same day, a meeting of legends.  Abby Williams, co-captain of Alex’s 2008 state champion hockey team, had recently graduated from Bemidji State and was waitressing at Bennigan’s while job hunting in her field.]

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[The winery, November 9, 2013.]

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[The winery, February 1, 2014.]

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[Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale, February 27, 2014.]

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[St. Paddy’s Day at Carlson Music Center, with Chuck Wencl, March 15, 2014.  I took five quick shots in succession.  This was the last shot.  Bingo!]

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[The winery, April 12, 2014.]

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[“The parting shot . . .” ]

And from Mikko . . .


[Here’s a photo from last year of Bruce, Canadian folk singer David Francey, and me. Lotta folks gonna miss himself.  ~ Mikko]


[Mikko, Annie & Bruce on the main drag of Youghal (pronounced Y’all) because it is as far south as you can get in that part of Ireland. That’s the old city gate in the background. Youghal is where the classic movie Moby Dick was filmed. This pic was taken in front of a little cafe which had a sign inside reading: “No Singing, No Swearing, No Dancing! This is a respectable house!” ~ Mikko]

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[Winning the 2009 Minnesota Irish Fair Celtic Music Competition.]

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I had the unique pleasure of golfing with Bruce a few times over the years.  And there was nothing that quite spoke to the essential Bruce as when he would deadpan, “Say, that was a nice shot.”   Bruce, thanks for the memories . . .

Parting Glass:

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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1 Response to Bruce Kelly

  1. JamiG4 says:

    What an amazing and detailed tribute, Tom. And what a lucky group of people to have such a wonderful musician and friend among you for the time you did. Life sure is short so let’s enjoy it each and every day. {{Hugs}} to you all.

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