West Central Community Center dedicated one of its main conference rooms to long-time volunteer Donald K. Kelly, at a brief ceremony on Tuesday.
Kelly was 76 when he died Oct. 8.
“He was part of the group that shepherded us through the community center expansion; he has been here almost from the beginning,” said Kim Ferraro, executive director of West Central Community Center. “He was lovely and compassionate and we were all devastated when we lost him.” Donald Kelly served on the board of West Central Community Center, as well as on its finance committee, since 1994.
Diane Kelly, his wife of 57 years, cut the ribbon to the room, with about two dozen family members at her side.
Donald Kelly’s son Dennis Kelly spoke on behalf of the family.
“We know how important this was to him because of his strong commitment here,” Dennis Kelly said.
Prior to the ribbon cutting, West Central Board President Matt Reis praised Donald Kelly for his dedication and hard work.
“He brought a common-sense approach to his work on the board, you really need that,” Reis said. “He didn’t speak a lot at our meetings but when he said something he was always very thoughtful.”
Ferraro said the conference room was formerly called “The Celebrity,” a name that possibly came about when the community center first opened.
Ferraro said many celebrities, including Eddie Albert from the TV series “Green Acres” and Frank Bonner from the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” visited the community center back then.
“This was way before my time, but I suspect that’s where the name came from,” Ferraro said. “We always thought it was more fitting for Los Angeles.”
After retiring from a successful business career, which included establishing Zip’s Drive-Ins, Donald Kelly volunteered for many organizations including The Spokesman-Review’s Christmas Bureau and he was a volunteer driver for Care Cars/Elder Services. He also served on the Parish Council and Finance Council of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.
“We appreciate all of you letting us have Don here for so many years,” Ferraro said to the family, many of whom were wiping away tears. “He was a huge loss of us.”